Why learn a second language?

  • Speaking another language is great for your brain.

The brains of those who speak two and more languages are more flexible and trained. It has wider access to memories, pays more attention to everything and focuses better on the task. It has a large number of path of association and cognitive strategies of a higher level. In such a brain, the creative processes develop more actively.

Moreover, speaking more than one language slows down the ageing processes of our brain, and helps prevent or delay age-related diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

  • Bilingualism can improve your competitiveness in the job market.

Knowing a second language makes your resume stand out and can boost you to the top of the interview list with potential employers.

  • Bilinguals can earn more money.

The financial returns of learning a foreign language vary by language and job, but they can add up to a lot. Salary.com found that jobs with pay differentials based on bilingualism usually pay 5-20% more per hour for bilingual employees.

MIT economist Albert Saiz discovered that college graduates who speak two languages make an average of 2% more than those who do not.

  • Speaking another language gives you a new perspective.

Even if you don’t travel abroad, becoming bilingual can help you see the world in a different way and understand yourself better.

Research has found that bilinguals literally see the world differently. People who regularly speak a second language perceive differences in color variations that are not recognized by monolinguals!

The same can be said of emotions. For example, to indicate resentment in Russian, there are two words: “обида” and “обижаться”. And in English for this emotion there are much more synonyms - resentment, grievance, injury, insult, offence - each of which has its own shade and degree. How’s that for a new perspective?

  • One more language – and you are a different person.

Many people who speak more than one language also report feeling “like a different person” when they speak the other language. This is mainly due to the language structure and vocabulary peculiarities.

Research by a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found that bilinguals emphasize different character traits depending on which language they are speaking. The professor interviewed Parisian adults who were fluent in French and Portuguese and found that they acted differently when speaking one language or the other. For example, one girl sounded like an “angry, hip suburbanite” in French and a “frustrated, but patient, well-mannered bank customer” in Portuguese.

For example, Russian language has more nouns, and English - more verbs, it means that English-speaking people are more focused on actions than on ideas or reasoning in comparison with Russian-speaking people. Speaking both languages means the ability to combine a "philosopher" and a "man of action".

Another study found significant levels of “frame-shifting,” or changes in self perception, among bilingual participants.

  • Speaking a second language improves problem-solving, multitasking and decision-making.

Numerous studies have found that bilingualism can improve brain functions like the ability to focus attention and perform mental tasks.

A study in Scotland and Italy found that bilingual children were “significantly more successful” than their monolingual peers in problem-solving and creativity tasks. Another study found that people who speak more than one language can process information more efficiently and easily.

As a bilingual, you are constantly choosing in which language to say a word, and this gives you a lot of practice choosing important information and ignoring extraneous details. This seems to help bilinguals do better at tasks that require multitasking and blocking out distractions.

Speaking another language can even help you make more rational decisions! A study conducted by a team of psychologists at the University of Chicago found that forcing people to rely on a second language when making decisions reduced their natural human biases. The scientists concluded that using a foreign language provided increased cognitive and emotional distance that allowed people to focus on the information rather than their own emotions.

As you see…

There are numerous benefits to gain from speaking a second language, from professional and personal to health benefits. Moreover, learning a foreign language is just fun!

With a second language, you can discover so many new things: new cultures, new traditions, new places, new technologies, new movies, and of course, new memes!

The sooner you learn and the more frequently you use your second language, the greater the benefits will be. So why not get started right away?

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