The Benefits of Being Multi-Lingual
There are many reasons why people chose to learn another language. Sometimes they live in a country surrounded by nations whose natives speak other languages. Sometimes people have a fascination with a country or culture and they want to learn more about it. And some people are forced to learn another language because of language requirements in school.
Regardless of why you are interested (or even if you are interested), there are plenty of reasons to learn at least one other language. The benefits from being able to comprehend and communicate in at least two languages are extensive. From better fluency in your own language to improved critical thinking skills, here are some of the biggest benefits of speaking more than one language.
Improved Language Abilities
The most obvious benefit is that you will be able to command two languages, increasing the number of people with whom you can communicate. However, it improves much more than just your understanding of your target language.
- You develop a better understanding of language and how the different aspects interact.
- You are better able to distinguish what someone means based on the way they said something.
- You become more proficient in both the language you are studying and any other languages you already know. You also become more sensitive and understanding of expressions in your own language.
- You learn to hear nuances.
- You develop a better sense of how languages work, creating a greater awareness of how people communicate. This helps you to better communicate with others.
- You are better able to recognize different ways of categorizing information and phrases.
- The more languages you know, the easier it is to learn the next one, both in pace and in retention.
When you learn another language, it forces you to ignore numerous distractions. This has long-term benefits for your attention span.
- Knowing at least two languages helps you to be able to cope with distractions better. This can help stave off your mental decline as you age.
- Your memory improves, especially if you continue to study all of the languages you know.
- You become a better learner, particularly when you learn yet another language.
- You develop better spatial abilities.
- Multi-linguists have better cognitive flexibility than their mono-lingual counterparts.
- Problem solving, critical thinking, and higher-order thinking are all improved.
- Being a better problem solver means you can develop multiple perspectives.
Understanding of Others
One of the most interesting benefits is your ability to better understand others, even of others who are from the same culture as yourself.
- Speaking another language gives you a stereoscopic vision for the world around you because you learn to see from multiple perspectives. As this makes you more flexible in your thinking, it also makes it easier to relate and understand others. This means you will have an easier time comprehending the world.
- You develop a better appreciation for other cultures and ideas. This expands your horizons and lets you better grasp cultural aspects that are not present in your society.
- Improved understanding of people from around the world. You will feel less afraid and isolated as you come to understand people who grew up in other countries.
- Knowing multiple languages is socially empowering as you expand the number of people and viewpoints you encounter.
Children stand to gain a lot by learning multiple languages while they are young.
- Children who learn more than one language are better able to use and manipulate language in a way that better expresses their thinking and emotions. This makes it easier to understand how they feel and where their knowledge gaps are in numerous areas beyond just language.
- The pace at which they learn their native language is increased, particularly for reading. It can also improve their learning in other subjects.
- Kids become better communicators at an earlier age as they learn different ways to express themselves.
- They are able to more quickly and easily expand their vocabulary.
- Children learn better ways to read in all of the languages they are learning, not just the target one.
You also increase your appeal to employers, something that is increasingly more desirable because of globalization. Being able to speak more than one language offers the opportunity for employers to expand their market.