Updated: Sep 3, 2018
Ever felt crushed under the burden of learning a second language in high school and decided aggressively that it would have been better if no second language existed at all?
We do know the halo of superiority that you can surround yourself with when you are able to converse in more than one language. Well, knowing more than one language is beneficial in a number of ways that will undoubtedly overshadow the stress undertaken to learn a second language at high school. To add to this, the health benefits of a second language also aids you in the journey of life. And, this is all because you have pushed your periphery and undertaken the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone.
Speaking a second language enhances the functionality of the brain by challenging it to negotiate meaning and conversing with a second language and it ultimately affects the ability to act maturely while solving tasks.
Bilingual or multilingual people perform better while alternating between tasks and show greater capability to multi-task as compared to monolinguals. According to a study from the Pennysylvia State University, bilingual people act as better "jugglers" due to their efficiency to switch between two languages simultaneously that also indicates a better brain.
Become More Perceptive
A study from one of the universities of Spain revealed that bilingual people happen to be more perceptive to minute details in their lives. They focus primarily on important information and edit the unimportant ones to come to a definite conclusion. Knowing two languages definitely make people concentrate more on important and relevant information rather than unimportant ones.
Remember when you had to toil hard in your high school to get good grades in your second language and often cursed it for taking away your precious time that makes you give less time to other subjects? Students who study a second language tend to score better in tests compared to their monolingual friends in categories of maths, vocabulary and logic. If you are in school or college and thinking about learning a new language, it might not be a bad idea after all.
Better Job Prospects
In many fields, bilingual people are awarded prestigious positions in jobs due to the diverse capabilities they possess while interacting with people. They don't just add to the quality of the workplace by the skills they have, they help to bridge the gap between customs and languages . Knowing a language other than your mother tongue is just indispensable.
Knowing that how fast cultures are changing and are getting amalgamated with other cultures, bilinguals develop listening skills intricately. As they have trained their brains to listen carefully when listening to others, they exhibit better attention while listening to others.
Learning a second language doesn't mean you will learn only the vocabulary and grammar. Coming across the literary works of a specific language also opens up our views on cultures and nurtures them to a great extent. It is quite tough to be ignorant of literature while learning a new language and that makes us understand why people do what they do and opens our minds to new viewpoints.
Storehouse of Different Concepts
There are many words in different languages that can never be adequately expressed by some other word of a language. For instance, 'jootha' in Hindi means a part of food that has got covered with saliva and this very concept has no existence in English. While we learn two or more languages, we are exposed to a number of different concepts and views which adds to our worldly knowledge.
Several studies have been conducted on this topic onto to conclude the fact that those who are bilingual/multilingual experience better mental health than monolinguals. While you learn a new language, try to speak in it and learn new words, your brain stays active for the proper retention of facts and data. As a result, however, the brain stays active for a prolonged period of time and delays certain diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia. For monolingual adults, the average age when dementia is found is 71.4 where in bilinguals, the average age is 75.5. Studies considered the facts such as gender,education level and income level but the results were consistent.
Ever heard of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex? I don't exactly remember being taught about this but this part of our brain is hugely affected by our capacity of speaking two or more languages. This brain region plans complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression , decision making and moderating social behaviour.
Do you know a second language? How do you think it has helped you? Tell us, we would love to listen !