Importance of Learning Foreign Languages

What is a language? Languages are humanity’s way of communicating using symbols and sounds and is either spoken or written. We use languages to talk, text, and read on a daily basis, and they are a way to connect with people around the world. If there was no language, how would anyone communicate beyond generic motions that could be interpreted with many meanings? Most, if not all, students at Apex High School take a foreign language class, most likely for credits received and boosting their chances of college admission. Lots of colleges require at least two language credits for admission into the school, but that doesn’t have to be the only reason you learn a new language.

Learning a language aside from your first language has multiple benefits. Not only does it open new connections with people as you learn the language, but learning foreign languages help develop different areas of the brain, which is why it is probably recommended that language learning is started at a young age.  Learning how to read music is similar to learning a language as well because the notes are associated with a specific name. Eventually over time, the musical notes on a page of sheet music are automatically associated with a note name or a letter.

Now, I am by no means saying to go learn three or four different languages just to be able to know them, but if you wish to become trilingual or a polyglot[1], by all means go for it. However, knowing one other language than the one you grew up with would be beneficial to your brain development.

Learning a foreign language helps improve your first language. As you progress in your knowledge of another language, grammar rules are reinforced to you and as a result, your language skills in your first language improve. It also has been known to improve your memory, concentration, and cognitive listening skills. According to Live Science, researchers have found “two young adults proficient in two languages performed better on attention tests and had better concentration than those who only spoke one language, irrespective of whether they learned that second language during infancy, childhood or teen years.” [2]

Along with the benefits to the brain, there is the possibility that international connections could strengthen. The term international connections does not only limit to official business connections but extends to the connections people make just from learning. There are numerous communities online that enable  people learning languages to connect with people who speak that language and build their skills by talking or texting with them. Through these communities, people make friendships with people all around the world from one small decision.

In today’s day and age, it would help to have more positive international connections because of the increase of negativity in recent years. However, language barriers are keeping it from happening. Although, lately there has been an increase in English-speakers resulting from the development in the global economy.  When delving deeper into learning a language, new cultures and traditions are introduced. It can provide a deeper understanding of a culture’s history and how it fits into today’s society.

No matter the reason, learning a language has so many pros in comparison to the cons. The amount of effort required to mastering a language is nothing to overlook, but in the end, the work is worth it. Giving a new language a chance opens so many doors to many opportunities in different aspects of your life. Learn more about the world we live in today; try learning a language and see what it teaches you.

 

[1] A polyglot is a person who knows several languages.

[2] This quote was from ‘Learning a New Language at Any Age Helps the Brain’ on Live Science.

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