Being bilingual can be immensely useful. With ever-growing globalization and increased international trade and commerce, speaking a second language can even be argued as necessary. There are over 6,500 different languages in the world, many of which are obscure and not very beneficial to learn. However, some languages are very utilitarian. But there are a plethora of reasons to learn a new language, other than just a utility. People can choose to learn a language to follow international artists or study certain aspects of history.
Many of us believe it’s too late to pick up a new language, that it’s something you need to have started when you were young. That’s a very detrimental misconception. According to the folks at www.90daykorean.com, you can learn a new language at any age. If anything, learning a new language helps your brain. The brain, like many things, needs exercise. When you stimulate certain areas of your brain you create neural pathways and links between neurons. This happens when you engage in different parts of the brain. Learning a new language can help you create new links, develop new pathways, and stimulate your brain. The language center of the brain is flexible and its stimulation can aid in strengthening the brain’s natural ability to focus.
Here are 7 ways a new language can stimulate your brain:
Learning a new language forces you to expand your vocabulary. Once you learn the basics, you delve into learning new words and expanding your verbal arsenal. Also, as a new speaker, you will at least look first for different ways to say certain things. As you develop the new language, vocabulary, you will look for alternate ways to deliver your message with the words at your disposal. This becomes a creative endeavor, stimulating your brain every step of the way.
As you learn a new language and, in turn, examine a new culture, you will realize how different language phrases or emphasize different things. This isn’t limited to grammatical sentence construction, rather the way natives express themselves. You will find that direct translation may not suffice in communicating certain ideas or points you have and those words have different connotations, meanings, and impacts in the new language. This forces you to be more articulate and has you examine what it is you are truly trying to say. Slight variations in the meaning of words will have different nuances in a new language and studying or experiencing that will help stimulate your brain.
You will be flexing your memory muscles, figuratively speaking. You will have to make room in your head for all the new words and grammar rules needed to speak a new language. Oftentimes to do this you will create mnemonic devices that all work hand in hand in using stimulating your brain. There are different tips and techniques people use to improve their memory; look some up if you find yourself recalling things you studied while learning a new language.
4. Pattern Recognition
Studying a new language will help you be able to discern different patterns. Patterns arise in every facet of our lives and detecting such patterns is often regarded as a sign of intelligence. IQ tests often test a person’s ability to decipher a pattern and studies show those that speak multiple languages often score higher on such tests. This isn’t to say they are inherently smarter but rather able to pick up on patterns and trends. This comes from the mental exercise they have done in learning a new language.
5. Cultural Understanding
Speaking a new language helps you understand the connotation for different cultures, namely the culture of the language you’re studying. We’ve all heard that the Japanese don’t have a word for ‘no’ in their language. That isn’t the case. But they will often use one of the various ways to avoid using the word ‘no.’ This is cultural, and the study of a language will reveal a plethora of cool, fun facts about the culture of the natives that speak the language you’re learning. This exposes you to a new way of thinking, constantly keeping your brain active.
Have you ever seen someone bilingual switch languages mid-conversation or even mid-sentence? Oftentimes this is because the other language has the words or phrases that adequately communicate what they are trying to express. Think of language as a toolkit, and the tools are used for communication. Speaking a second language parallels having a second toolkit at the ready. You can express yourself better and communicate more efficiently. Using these various tools you can give your brain the stimulation it needs to continually develop and stay sharp.
7. Vocal Control
When learning a new language that uses different phonics or has a different script for their alphabet, you will find that you have to manipulate your vocals in ways you’re unaccustomed too. Native English speakers will struggle to recreate particular sounds in other languages such as Arabic or Chinese, as is the case with Arabic and Chinese native speakers learning to speak English. This attempt to control your vocal cords, oftentimes needing to use other body parts, like your diaphragm, will force you to engage your brain to speak differently. These exercises, while most physical, require mental exertion to be performed. As they are foreign to new speakers, they force the brain to create new neural pathways to perform them regularly.
We can all benefit from learning a new language, regardless of our initial motivations to learn one. Being multilingual can help a person progress in their career and grow culturally. Learning a new language also proves handy when traveling, allowing you to better experience foreign countries. The benefits are endless, but none equal to the benefit of developing your mind. Constantly keeping your mind engaged helps you maintain your faculties at an older age and keeps you sharp, and there is no better way to engage your brain than to learn a new language. Don’t be discouraged by feeling ‘too old’ and go and begin learning how to speak a new language today.