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7 Amazing Benefits of Learning a New Language

7 Amazing Benefits of Learning a New Language

There have been numerous studies pointing to the benefits of learning a new language. Yet, recent study shows that only 18% of Americans can fluently speak two or more languages.

Part of the reason is that learning a new language only becomes an interest to us once we reach adulthood, and we mistakenly think that it’s impossible to acquire a new language at a certain age. While it’s not a walk in the park, nearly anyone can learn a new language with a bit of motivation and diligence. Some people have more of an aptitude for learning languages, like children, but we shouldn’t let it discourage us from continuing to improve.

If you need more reasons to motivate yourself to learn a new language, here are 7 amazing benefits backed by science.

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1. You Will Improve Your Native Languages

It’s only when we learn a new language, that we can appreciate the roots and fundamentals of our native language. This is because we grew up speaking our native language, without much thought in terms of how sentence structures worked or breaking down the accents for each syllable.

According to the Impact of the Second Language Education, studying a second language alone will significantly improve the grammar, reading, vocabulary, and speaking skills of your first language. It’s similar to playing basketball your whole life, then learning how to play volleyball, and using those skills to improve your basketball game.

2. Enhances Your Focus

In a study, published online in the journal Brain and Language, individuals who spoke more than one language were observed through an fMRI, while performing word comprehension tasks. Results showed that multilingual individuals were better at filtering out competing words than one-language speaking individuals. This ability to tune out competing words benefits in blocking out distractions to focus on the task at hand.

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Luckily for us, studies have shown that even those of us with minimal knowledge of a secondary language can reap the advantages of these traits.

3. Prevents Common Brain Diseases

Hopefully none of us have to worry about this anytime soon, but aging is something that is common in all of us. When it comes to the brain, learning a new language can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by 4.5 years. This is a far more powerful than the best drugs, which only delay the symptoms by 6–12 months.

4. Learn Anything Faster

In a study done in Massachusetts in 2007, the researchers have concluded that the “exercise in cognitive problem solving” through language learning can be directly applied to anything we want to learn. Your memory retention is also improved when learning a new language. Absorbing and retaining more information can significantly shorten your learning curve, because you can spend more time learning new information instead of re-learning something you’ve already seen before.

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5. Become More Outgoing And Liked By Others

Language learning is not only about communicating in a foreign language, it’s about experiencing a new culture.

The first reason is that meeting foreign people is embedded in the core of language learning. In order to practice and improve a new language, you’ll need to work with a native speaking teacher (or a coach on Rype), use conversation exchanges, or attend language meetups. This is similar to how you need to just ride the bicycle instead of watching videos about it, its just part of the process.

The experience of speaking with conversation partners is essentially the same as meeting anyone. The skills of being communicative and sociable are directly transferable to other areas of your life. Most importantly, learning a new language helps you step into the shoes of people different to yourself and see the world from a contrasting perspective — therefore developing empathy for others.

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6. Double Your Creativity

We often have to puzzle together words to form a sentence until it fits and makes sense for another person. Learning a new language improves your divergent thinking skills, training you to produce multiple solutions to problems on a consistent basis. This “out of the box” experimentation practice is why researchers have concluded that multilingual individuals are more creative than monolingual individuals.

7. Boost Your Confidence Level

When we set out to achieve something and find success, it boosts our confidence levels — no matter how small the success. Even being able to carry a 30-second conversation with a native speaker can significantly boost your confidence, because you know it’s something you wouldn’t have been able to do before.

This “yes, I can!” mentality will become your personal mantra, and can be applied to any goal you want to achieve in your life.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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