4 Benefits Of Being Multilingual
Before you ask Siri or Google the question “how many languages are spoken in the world” why not take a guess. You have 5 seconds starting now. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Time is up.
Did you guess 7,139 languages? Well, if you did then you are correct so pat yourself on the back. If you guessed wrong, do not fret because actually, seven thousand one hundred and thirty-nine languages is not a definite count. The number is constantly changing, with some languages getting discovered and others becoming endangered.
It is reported that only 23 languages represent more than half of the global population. Counting both native and non-native speakers, English is the most widely spoken language in the world. However, the language with the most native speakers is Mandarin Chinese, partly due to its large population.
There are so many languages on this planet that it is impossible to learn every single one of them. Yet, most of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual.
Learning a new language opens up a whole new world of shining and shimmering possibilities, so if you are trying to figure out if learning a new language is for you, look no further. Besides, being multilingual has many benefits! Why not explore four of those benefits!
1. Improve: First Language and Listening Skills
When learning a <a href="https://beelinguapp.com/blog/language-learning-versus-learning-acquisition">second language</a>, your brain is introduced to a new set of language rules, from the varying conjugation of words to the contrasting sentence structures. But this doesn’t mean you will lose knowledge of your first acquired language. Instead, learning a new language enhances the understanding of your primary language by making you more aware and conscious of its rules and nuances.
When learning and practicing languages, you are more likely to recognize language distinctions or maybe even figure out its sister languages, which are helpful when learning more languages. As a result, you end up becoming an effective listener, a sensible thinker, and an active communicator. Isn’t that the coolest?
2. Enhances: Multitasking and Memory Skills
Multitasking sounds like the best way to tackle a hundred and one tasks. Well, did you know that bilinguals are better at multitasking? When learning and practicing a new language, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain are working together. This means that the multilingual noggin is constantly juggling and alternating between languages, otherwise known as code-switching.
So is multitasking a myth? In this case, multitasking is not a myth because as much as the brain is switching between languages, important information is prioritized while unnecessary information is put away.
Learning another language doesn’t only help with your multitasking skills, but it also helps improve your problem-solving abilities. As you are learning a new language, the brain is challenged to stay focused.
The more the brain is challenged, the more it grows to function better. This is very important when trying to remember and understand different things from languages to math skills. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why multilingual people tend to score higher in standardized exams.
3. Slows Cognitive Decline
Our brain is not a muscle but an organ, and it requires exercise. No, you don’t need a Peloton bike or a yoga mat for this session, because one way to exercise your brain is through language learning!
When learning a new language, you are not only keeping your brain active, but you are also increasing the number of neural connections formed, as well as improving your thinking and memory skills.
The more the brain is active, the more it expands. And this results in an increase in gray matter volume which leads to better brain connectivity. Furthermore, this helps with the brain’s slow aging process which reduces the chances of early-onset cognitive impairment. Yes, being multilingual rocks!
4. Awareness: Globally and Culturally
Language is one of the most important and powerful things in the world. It helps convey thoughts, emotions, and everything else in between. The more languages you learn, the more you are exposed to the different cultures around you.
As a result, you become a more open-minded person. You begin to see things in different ways you never imagined. You start connecting with the people around you and start appreciating the beauty of diversity.
You become a more mindful observer of your surroundings, understanding how and why things are the way they are. Learning a new language is life-changing, why not practice now!
In this home we call Earth, being multilingual helps you become a more competent citizen of the world. Not only will you be a globetrotting polyglot, but you will be a force to be reckoned with because of your superpowers in listening, multitasking, problem-solving, and in being globally and culturally aware. Knowledge is power. So stay curious and start brushing up on your language skills!