In an ongoing effort to protect loved ones and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, UOTP classes for the 6A semester will be held via an online format. Staff will continue to work remotely until June 8th and will be available for assistance during this time. Please contact us at [email protected] for any questions or visit UOTP COVID-19 Information page.
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With the English language being the world’s lingua franca, many English speakers may think it’s not necessary to learn a new one. They aren’t necessarily right. The knowledge of a foreign language never goes to waste. You may use it while in a new country to communicate with the locals so they can help you find your destination or to maybe feel at home after you moved there to teach English to non-English speakers. It may even help you in your job, and your business travels. Knowing a second language means a whole new literature is in your hands. However, these aren’t the only benefits of learning a new language. There are many more. Here’s our list of nine of them.

1. It Stimulates Your Brain

Learning a new language undoubtedly helps your gray matter grow. Acquiring a new language means that you’re going to learn a whole new set of rules of grammar and lexis (whether you find this part amusing or not). While your brain is trying to keep up with the new language’s complexities and take in the new patterns, new developments are happening in the brain. Just like muscles, the brain gets stronger and bigger the more you put it to use.

Nothing challenges the brain like learning a language does. Scientists have established that we use the left side of the brain when speaking our native language. Whereas, the second language usage isn’t limited to a specific hemisphere. It uses both of them, increasing the size of the white and grey matter of the brain.

2. It Improves Your Attention Span

With the human attention span seemingly narrowing more and more every day, according to many studies, deciding to learn a new language may be the antidote to this situation.  Recent studies show that the average attention span of a person has reduced from twelve to eight seconds. Researchers suggest that learning a new language helps the brain maintain focus and block distractions. This is a result of regularly switching between languages.

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3. More Career Options to Choose From

In the highly competitive job market, employers are looking to hire someone that stands out from the rest of the candidates. Knowing a foreign language could help you be chosen among many other job applicants. Having a foreign language listed in your CV might be what a potential employer is looking for.

Also, nowadays, people who are proficient in more than one language are high in demand in the job market in all sectors and industries, as the employers consider them to be better communicators and problem solvers. Skills that one master by acquiring a second language.

4. It Boosts Your Creativity

Knowing a foreign language isn’t beneficial only to the brain; it also influences your level of creativity. As a person starts to learn a language, they get familiar with the culture of the place where that language is spoken. The more you learn about new cultures, the more you’ll look at the world around you from different perspectives. The change of views will make you more original, elaborate, and flexible—all qualities of being a creative person.

5. It Improves Your First Language

One learns the mother tongue intuitively and without any formal education. Being raised in a society where a particular language is spoken, children start to pick up the language they hear.

However, learning another language is a whole different deal. From the beginning, you’ll get introduced to grammar, vocabulary, idioms, and sentence structure. As you learn more about the second language, you become more conscious of what you know in the first language. While before you couldn’t quite explain the abstract rules and language structure, learning a new language helps you put names to what you learned instinctively in the first language.

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6. You Build Multitasking Skills

Not many people are good at multitasking. However, this often doesn’t apply to bilingual people. They are some of the most experienced when it comes to multitasking. Their brain has been practicing in switching from one language to the other daily. When the brain gets used to this demanding job of switching from one language to another, it isn’t difficult for them to use this skill in other tasks, too.

A study done by the National Institutes of Health concluded that bilinguals switch tasks faster than monolinguals. They found that bilingual children in their research responded quite well to their multiple computer tasks in comparison to their monolingual fellows.

7. It Slows Down Cognitive Decline

If you still haven’t started and needed another incentive to start learning a new language, here’s one. Learning a language may reduce your chances of getting early onset of cognitive impairments. More than 16 million people in the United States live with cognitive impairment, be it Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or any other disorder. The latest study on the effect of bilingualism in cognitive aging found that people who spoke more than one language regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and occupation experience the onset of cognitive decline four years and a half later than the ones who spoke only one.

8. It Improves Your Memory

The brain is compared to muscles for one reason. Seeing that the more physical exercises you do, the more the muscles strengthen and get larger. This aspect applies to the brain too. The more you challenge it, the more the brain expands, and the better it functions.

You can think of learning a language as an exercise for the brain. Having first to understand and then later recall multiple grammar rules and vocabulary, strengthens the memory muscle. That’s why people who know more than one language are more likely to retain information. They’re way better at remembering lists, names, cell phone numbers, and directions than monolinguals.

9. It Boosts Your Self-Esteem

No one wants to be put in the spotlight, especially when talking in a foreign language when the chances of making mistakes are quite high. Yet, this is what characterizes language learning. It breaks you out of your shell again and again that eventually, you’ll feel comfortable in every situation regardless of whether you’re making mistakes or not.

Nothing beats the confidence you feel when talking to a native speaker in their language. That’s when your self-esteem will sky-rocket. Becoming proficient in a language is like mastering any other skill. Once you’re there, you’ll feel confident and nice about yourself.

The benefits of learning another language are innumerable. Those that we mentioned in our list are just a part of them. Yet, no matter how many lists are out there, no one can convince you of the benefits as much as your own language learning experience will. With that in mind, choose a language that you find exciting and appealing and open the door to the many benefits that come with language proficiency.

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