What are the Benefits of a Second Language?

More than half of the people in the world speak more than one language, a good portion knowing even more than two. It not only helps to understand multiple cultures at once, making travel easier, but it even improves the understanding of your own native language. However, there are more benefits than surface-level examples.

Our brains can quickly adapt to many different situations. Learning a new language makes it easier for us to block out unnecessary information, making our ability to understand conversation better. We also get a boost in our attention span and multitasking abilities. We train our brain to be able to understand more than one system of talking, which translates into understanding more than one concept at once.

There are lots of phrases and plays on words that are almost impossible to translate into other languages, due to the perspective on the world being completely different. For example, in Homer’s Odyssey there is no mention of the word “blue” because in general, the Ancient Greeks categorized all colors into 4 “real colors”, red, yellow, black, and white. Though all other colors existed, they expressed them in completely different ways. This is such with many other cultures and sayings, where there is no true translation, and learning a language may open a whole new view of the world.

There are also many advantages on the job market and for academic purposes. On average, there are more jobs available for bilinguists, and many more positions are encouraged for those who speak more than one language such as journalism and newscasting. There is even a monetary incentive, as retirement bonuses increase for those that are bilingual.

There are many reasons to learn a new language. Even if it is for tourism, or you are not planning to visit the country at all, the ability to switch between different concepts is an extremely useful skill that trains the brain to have a stronger focus on tasks, a better attention span, better communication skills, and the ability to talk to almost half the world.

Sources:

“10 Benefits of Being Bilingual.” Unuhi Bilingual Books, 2 June 2020, https://unuhi.com/10-benefits-of-being-bilingual/

Parisi, — Tom. “10 Reasons to Be Bilingual.” NIU Newsroom, newsroom.niu.edu/2015/09/16/10-reasons-to-be-bilingual/

Why Choose Bilingualism? www.eb.org/bilingual-programs/why-choose-bilingualism

(www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. “One, Dos, Drei: Why Speaking More than One Language Is Good for the Brain.” DW.COM, 2016, www.dw.com/en/one-dos-drei-why-speaking-more-than-one-language-is-good-for-the-brain/a-19325726

Hoffman, Erin. “The Wine-Dark Sea: Color and Perception in the Ancient World.” Clarkesworld Magazine, 2013, clarkesworldmagazine.com/hoffman_01_13/

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