Unexpected Benefits of Language Learning



It has been thoroughly documented that learning a second language is good for one’s career, particularly in a bilingual country such as Canada. Bilinguals are more likely to be hired and then earn higher salaries. As they grow older, language learning has also shown to provide specific health benefits, such as helping delay the onset of such illnesses like dementia.

Language learning is a great mental exercise, and also helps maintain your memory.

However, there are other, less known, benefits of language learning. Here are just a few.

  • Learning another language can help you be a better decision-maker.

    Because their minds must work in two languages, often switching from one to another, bilinguals are better at analyzing in detail the factors involved in decision making, according to a study from the University of Chicago.
  • Most travellers already know that speaking another language can enhance their visits abroad, and make their trips more enjoyable. But knowing even some of the local languages can also help them save money.

    Shops in popular travel destinations often have two prices, one for tourists and one for locals. The odds are you won’t be mistaken for a local, but haggling using even a few words in the local language can often get you a better price.
  • Learning another language can create a better understanding of your native language, and help you become a better writer and speaker.

    Studying grammar and pronunciation of another language often brings back lessons you learned in school, or, perhaps the ones you were supposed to learn.
  • Bilinguals not only exhibit longer attention spans, they are also better able to multi-task.

    In switching back and forth between languages, the brain has to focus on the appropriate language and the appropriate context in each. This means bilinguals can usually concentrate more on whatever task is at hand, and balance tasks just as they have to balance languages. Language learning can also help make you a better listener.
  • Learning a second language can help your children develop important skills faster, better and earlier.

    Research shows that, contrary to what some people think, children as young as infants can develop better learning skills when exposed to a second language. They also develop better cognitive and native language skills as they grow.

    Other research has shown language learning improves math skills by developing better analytical thinking.
  • Knowing a second language can make you more self-confident, and improve your self-image, according to several studies and interviews with Berlitz language students.

    One reason is: confidence and self-worth increase as they succeed in the challenge of language learning.
  • Speaking the local language, even a little, can make travel safer.

    Some commonly-visited locations are famous for their fast-fingered pickpockets. Primary targets are people who look and act like tourists. Speaking the local language makes you a less likely target, perhaps causing them to think you are familiar with the area.