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The Benefits of Learning a Second Language
People usually learn a new language so that they can speak with different people. But did you know that second language learners enjoy many benefits that affect different areas of their lives? This was demonstrated by the Second Languages and Intercultural Council (SLIC) of the Alberta Teachers' Association, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT), through a literature review that sought to understand the influence of second language learning on cognition, academics, personal life, society at large, economics and intercultural understanding.
Discover a few of these benefits—some of which may surprise you.
The brains of people who speak more than one language are structured differently than the brains of monolinguals. These differences lead to several advantages and abilities, such as
- a greater ability to concentrate and recognize relevant information in the vast amounts of information we encounter every day
- an increase in white matter in the brain that delays the onset of age-related memory problems
- a greater capacity for global learning of one's first language
The good news is that learning and using a second language shapes our brain, regardless of our age!
Professional and economic benefits
Being able to speak a second language is of great value in a professional context. This means
- higher incomes, greater employment opportunities, and expanded social and professional networks
- better chances of being hired by a company with international reach, and of travelling for work
- a tendency to do better in other fields, such as math and science, as mentioned in the cognitive benefits
- a greater ability to resolve conflicts and a greater appreciation of cultural differences within a company
For businesses, multilingualism allows for greater competitiveness, more successful international trade and higher economic growth.
Learning a second language is a great way to learn about the culture and people who speak that language. In general, multilingual people have
- a better understanding of the diversity in their communities and in the world at large
- a tendency to be active and engaged global citizens, helping to make the world a better place by learning more about it
- an overall sense of belonging, appreciation of others and openness to diverse cultural experiences
Empathy and openness are characteristics often seen in people who speak more than one language, making them more appreciative of linguistic, cultural and racial diversity.
Use Mauril to help you learn French or English and reap all these benefits, and more! To learn more about the benefits of learning a second language, visit the CASLT website.
(Data from the CASLT website and a literature review on the impacts of second-language learning)