The first language we learn teaches us, as an extension of logic, to make sense of the world around us. It also is the basis for social interaction and the transmission of culture. Those who are lucky enough to grow up bilingual experience many advantages, but it is never too late to learn a new language, or reap the cognitive, social and professional rewards of becoming a polyglot later in life.
The ability to understand and speak a language effectively demands much of the human brain. Since people acquire language at the age of the highest degree of neural plasticity, the first experience of language learning is more instinctive than it is formal. The process of undertaking a second language later in life taxes the brain differently, but the positive effects of bilingualism are still available to later second-language learners. Check out Davron Translations’ guide to how learning a new language can improve your life.
Improve Your Cognitive Function
There has been a great deal of research on the topic of language and its implications on both the brain’s function and structure, and the evidence that learning a new language produces benefits in both areas is convincing. Like other parts of the body, the brain becomes stronger with frequent and strenuous use, and language learning is among the best cerebral workouts.
Prolong Your Brain Health
To continue with the physical fitness analogy, bodies that receive a proper diet and ample exercise tend to function better and longer into old age. The same goes for brains. A delay in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by 4.5 years, more efficient attention switching capabilities later in life and reduced age-related memory loss are all attributed to bilingualism.
Experience a New Culture from the Inside
By studying a new language, you not only learn a new vocabulary, you see the world through a new lens of cultural context. International travel can become more rewarding if you will feel more like a resident and less like a “visitor” in a foreign country. It also stands to reason that you are more likely to develop lasting relationships with the people you meet on vacation if you can speak their language.
Improve Your Professional Value
In today’s increasingly global market, the ability to interact with multiple linguistic communities is becoming more and more valuable. Or, to put it another way, in a world where the majority of people speak more than one language, those who do not are in danger of getting left behind in the job market. In countries where monolingualism is the norm, like in the UK and the USA, being bilingual can really stand out on a resume.
While learning a second language as an adult does require motivation and commitment, the rewards are tangible. A stronger and more age-resistant brain, a more fulfilling and socially rich travel experience and a valuable asset in the eyes of employers are a few of the rewards of becoming bilingual. Remember, it’s never too late to start!