Advertising
Advertising

12 Surprising Benefits of Learning a New Language That You’ll Experience

12 Surprising Benefits of Learning a New Language That You’ll Experience

Learning a new language is a big deal.

You’re learning a completely new form of communication, and it enables you to communicate with people you never could have before.

But there’s benefits to learning a language that you might not have expected when you started the journey. I’ve personally experienced this having learned 3 languages in my life (Korean, English, and Spanish).

Think about the effect that losing weight has on someone’s life. While most people get into it for a healthier lifestyle, there can be surprising benefits like increased confidence, being more outgoing, and increased mental clarity.

The same thing can apply to language learning.

In this article, we’ll share the 12 surprising benefits you’ll experience when you learn a language.

1. Learn anything faster

Learning a new language is mental agility training at its best. The exercise in cognitive problem solving can without a doubt be applied to almost any problem we want to solve in other areas.

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 learned before.

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you learn a new language, not only are you able to learn other languages faster (simply due to understanding the process), but you’ve already retained key skills for learning several other languages without even knowing it.

For example, if you recently learned how to speak Spanish, you’ve automatically entered the world of languages from the latin root, such as Portuguese, Italian, French, and Romanian. In fact, between these languages there are over a thousand words that are exactly the same, if not very similar to each other.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-07-at-8.00.09-AM

    Notice the similarity of the words between these languages.

    2. Improve your math skills

    For those of us who didn’t grow up with natural talents in mathematics, no need to fear.

    Advertising

    A study was done at Massachusetts in 2007, where The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages stated that:

    “Children who study a foreign language, even when this second language study takes time away from the study of mathematics, outperform students who do not study a foreign language and have more mathematical instruction during the school day.”

    In another study published in the University of Michigan’s Language Learning journal (Armstrong and Rogers, 1997), students who studied just one semester of a foreign language for just 90 minutes per week scored significantly higher in maths and language arts.

    If you think about it, it makes sense. Learning a language involves a structural and logical process, which is the same type of thinking that makes you thrive in mathematics.

    3. Become a better listener

    This is a skillset that comes in handy for any situation throughout our lives.

    If you’re trying to build a real connection with anyone, there’s nothing better than intentional listening without interruption. This is one of the key elements taught in Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

    When learning a language, there’s no choice but to train yourself to listen carefully, because you’re trying to make out every accent, pronunciation, and tone used by the other person. And if you’re just starting out, you’re forced to listen because you can’t speak the language!

    Most importantly, learning a new language helps you step into the shoes of people different to yourself and see the world in a completely different way— therefore developing empathy for others.

    4. 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 multi-lingual 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.

    As your listening skill improves, it only makes sense that it enhances your focus as well. Just like learning any new skill, learning a language requires your full, undivided attention. One slight distraction can mean the difference between one meaning and a completely different one.

    Over time, your brain will be trained to maintain this level of focus.

    5. Boost your confidence

    When we set out to achieve something and find success, it boosts our confidence levels — no matter how small the progress.

    Advertising

    Even being able to carry a 30-second conversation with a native speaker can make you more confident, because you know it’s something you wouldn’t have been able to do before.

    “Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” — E.E. Cummings

    I still remember the “aha moment” I experienced when I was living in Medellin, Colombia. I was living with a roommate who couldn’t speak a word of English when I first moved in. After a few months of using Rype to learn Spanish, I was able to get to a conversation level of fluency. It amazed me how I was suddenly able to speak to someone that I couldn’t have fathomed speaking to before.

    Needlessly to say, as the language barrier disappeared, our positive perception of each other increased dramatically, and so did our friendship.

    This confidence boost only pushed me to learn more, engage with more native speakers, and it translated into more confidence in every aspect of my life.

    Author of Lean Forward, Eric Holtzclaw, states that it is powerful how even a tiny change in perspective can pull you out of a funk and give “you the boost you need to take on that next challenge.”

    6. Prevents potential brain diseases

    Improving our health is something that should be a priority for every one of us, no matter how old we are. Most of us consider improving our health in a few major areas, like our physical appearance. But we tend to miss out on the most important part that runs our entire body — the brain.

    We are nothing without the vital functions of our brain, and we need to prioritize its health like we would with any other vital organ in our body.

    brain-languagemap

      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.

      The American Academy of Neurology has performed studies showing that speaking more than one language increases the amount of neural pathways in the brain, allowing information to be processed through a greater variety of channels.

      7. Improve your English (or native language)

      We discussed how learning one language can help you pick up not only other languages, but familiarize yourself with languages originating from the same root.

      What most people don’t mention enough, is that it can also help you improve your native language.

      Advertising

      According to an Impact of the Second Language Education study, studying a second language alone will significantly improve your first language skills in areas relating to grammar, reading, vocabulary, and speaking skills.

      This makes sense because learning a new language allows you to understand the structures and breakdown of a language, whereas this is something you likely intuitively picked up when you learned your native language.

      8. Increase your creativity

      Language learning is a lot like putting together the pieces of a new puzzle.

      You understand several, but not all of the words that are thrown at you, so you have to force yourself to be creative and fill the missing gaps on your own.

      creative-brain2

        This research concludes that bilingual individuals have a more “out of the box” thinking approach than monolingual individuals.

        While most creativity training occurs in waves (meaning on and off), there’s no taking breaks when you’re having a conversation with someone. You either have to force yourself to become creative in your interpretation and speaking skills, or you’ll need to face up to the awkward silence that follows.

        9. Culturally knowledgeable

        Language learning is not only about communicating in a foreign language, but 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 your new language, you’ll need to work with a language teacher, 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: it’s just part of the process.

        The majority of conflicts between people in the world come from a lack of understanding of the other side. Studying a new language not only helps you understand where the other person is coming from, but the cultural knowledge you gain can help others feel more connected to you.

        10. Open up new career opportunities

        In the past decade, we’ve experienced a rapidly growing trend of globalization. With the Internet era, there is no such thing as doing local business. Nearly every business that opens up today is an online business, and has the ability to reach a global market in seconds.

        1*bxy0V1qyESo11FYttmNRTw

          Big corporations are working fast to expand internationally to Asia, Europe, and South America, and understanding a foreign language will in the future likely become as standard as knowing Microsoft Word.

          Advertising

          Irene Missen, a language specialist at a top recruitment agency, Euro London, says that languages can open doors for you, and estimates a language can add between 10% and 15% to your wage.

          When it comes to advancing your career, it’s critical to leave no doors closed. Learning a new language takes time, and it’s far better to learn it before you need it than to be unprepared at your next job interview.

          11. Experience a new way of traveling

          This is a big one, and often one that’s hard to understand unless you know another language.

          For example, learning how to speak Spanish before you visit Spain for the first time, will give you an entirely different travel experience versus not knowing the language. When you can speak the language of the place you’re traveling to, you’re no longer dependent on the typical tourism tips that you’ll get from Tripadvisor.

          You can even use websites like Rype, which connects you with native speakers all around the world to teach you Spanish, to get real-life experience.

          Screen-Shot-2016-03-07-at-9.12.10-AM

            Instead, you can build relationships with the locals, and discover restaurants, hot spots, and excursions that tourism websites will never be able to share with you.

            You get to experience the new culture from the eyes of a local, instead of a tourist.

            12. Deepen your relationships

            Almost everyone who comes from a different cultural background can probably empathize with this point. With my limited ability to speak Korean, I struggled growing up with Korean family members.

            Luckily, I was able to improve my skills over time (surprisingly, from learning Spanish). But I constantly see people who struggle to have that connection with their family members, friends, or even life partner, because of this language barrier.

            As we shared in this post, the majority of the world’s problem comes down to communication problems. And there’s no bigger barrier to communication than the languages we are able to speak with each other.

            Over to you

            Which of these surprising benefits resonated with you the most?
            What method will you take advantage of to learn these languages? Will it be Rype? Conversation Exchanges? Meetups?

            More by this author

            8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 17 Free Websites That Will Improve the Quality of Your Life Today You Don’t Need Extremely High IQ to Be Successful, You Need Self-Control 5 Essential Activities That Will Make Your Brain Healthier

            Trending in App Review

            18 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months 210 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 317 Free Websites That Will Improve the Quality of Your Life Today 4Four Things to do with Google that most People Don’t Know 55 Best Test Management and Bug Tracking Tools for 2017

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on August 15, 2018

            25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

            25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

            Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

            Or even better:

            What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

            You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

            Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

            How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

            The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

            In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

            • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
            • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
            • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

            As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

            Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

            Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

            But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

            his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

            5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

            Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

            But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

            Advertising

            1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
            2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
            3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
            4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
            5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

            Who can use Excel shortcuts?

            There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

            • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
            • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
            • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
            • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

            Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

            With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

            25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

            Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

            1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

            If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

            2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

            If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

            If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

            3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

            Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

            =sum(

            …and then press F3.

            When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

            4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

            Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

            =match(

            …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

            Advertising

            When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

            But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

            5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

            If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

            • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
            • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
            • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
            • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
            • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

            6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

            By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

            The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

            For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

            A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

            7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

            When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

            8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

            When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

            9. Use filtering

            Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

            It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

            To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

            10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

            Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

            Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

            Advertising

            To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

            11. See formula results with F9

            If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

            Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

            12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

            If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

            13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

            Here’s how to use EDATE:

            =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

            =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

            14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

            Here’s how to use EMONTH:

            =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

            =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

            15. Remove spaces with TRIM

            TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

            16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

            In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

            17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

            When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

            And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

            Advertising

            18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

            If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

            19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

            Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

            You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

            20. Use data validation

            This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

            • Create dependent drop-down lists;
            • Create drop-down lists;
            • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

            21. Use conditional formatting

            It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

            22. Use formula auditing

            This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

            The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

            23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

            Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

            It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

            24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

            INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

            25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

            OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

            The bottom line

            As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

            That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

            If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Read Next