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7 Reasons You Should Thank The Second Language You Learned

7 Reasons You Should Thank The Second Language You Learned

Whether you had a bilingual upbringing or learned a second language later in life, you are incredibly fortunate. In fact, the benefits of being bilingual may be far greater than you ever imagined.

From the wealth of research surrounding bilingualism, scientists have highlighted distinct advantages in academic performance, mental health, and even future success. This phenomenon has since become known as the bilingual advantage.

The process of learning, knowing and using a second language has a profound effect on the brain. Specifically, they experience greater development in these key areas that organize and process speech:

  • Auditory Cortex – receives auditory stimuli and sends it to the Wernicke’s area
  • Wernicke’s Area – processes language sounds
  • Motor Cortex – controls motion of lips and mouth for forming speech
  • Broca’s Area – organizes language for active speech

When it comes to our everyday lives, many of these astounding benefits may surprise you!

7 Key Benefits of Being Bilingual

1. Greater Cognitive Skills

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    Bilingualism has been seen to enhance essential brain functions during focusing and demanding mental tasks. Then when it comes to creativity and problem-solving, studies have shown a distinct advantage for children who speak two languages.

    It’s believed that their brains can process and sort through information more efficiently than monolingual individuals. Since they must subconsciously choose words from a certain language, they gain more practice at selecting vital information over trivial details. As a result, bilinguals have the upper hand when it comes to dismissing distractions and multitasking.

    Almost unbelievably, there is evidence that suggests bilinguals make more rational decisions. The fact of the matter is, our natural human emotional bias is greatly diminished when using a second language. As we gain emotional distance and shift our focus on to information, we find ourselves performing more rational responses.

    2. Reduced Cognitive Damage Through Aging

    Even as we reach maturity, the benefits of being bilingual continue to serve us. As we age our cognitive flexibility begins to wane. We become slower and less able to adapt to unexpected and unfamiliar situations. Yet speakers of second languages have shown reduced and delayed damage as they age.

    Dementia is another worry, however, bilingualism has been seen to support cognition in older adults and delay the effects.

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    Studies have noted that speaking a second language has a profound effect on Alzheimer’s suffers. Many of the symptoms, such as confusion and memory loss, can be delayed by up to 5 years!

    3. Ease of Learning Another Foreign Language

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      If a child learns a second language, they can often pick up another with much less difficulty than others. Bilinguals have an advantage when it comes to the following linguistic skills:

      • Listening skills
      • Categorization of words
      • Processing information
      • Finding rhymes and word association
      • Communication skills
      • Increasing vocabulary
      • Finding solutions

      4. More Job Opportunities

      Modern businesses have diversified and grown internationally. Innovations in telecommunications and internet technology have opened up countless opportunities for business in foreign markets. Now, multicultural individuals are being increasingly seen as great assets to help business connect with these markets.

      We have huge multi-national companies who open offices internationality, manufacture on foreign lands and sell products in global markets. Employees who can speak more than one of these languages are in great demand, plus it makes you stand out from the rest.

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      5. Increased Money Earning Potential

      While your earning potential will vary greatly depending on your language and field, being bilingual is always advantageous. In fact, data from Salary.com showed that certain jobs were willing to pay a 5-20% higher hourly wage for bilingual candidates.

      Furthermore, Albert Saiz revealed that on average, bilingual graduates go on to earn 2% more than single language speakers. While this does not sound like much, it could certainly amount to a lot over a lifetime!

      6. Stronger Command of Your Primary Language

      This may come as a surprise to you, but speaking a second language can often reinforce the grasp of your primary language. To learning you must have focused on the mechanics of the language, such as sentence structure, grammar, and conjugations. As you became more aware of how a language is structured and utilized, you’ll develop increased communication skills.

      It’s also likely your listening skills will be sharpened as you become more accustomed to subtle tones and their meanings.

      Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the mechanics of language: grammar, conjugations, and sentence structure. This makes you more aware of language, and the ways it can be structured and manipulated. These skills can make you a more effective communicator and a sharper editor and writer. Language speakers also develop a better ear for listening, since they become skilled at distinguishing the meanings from discrete sounds.

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      7. Greater Perception of the World

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        One of the best benefits of being bilingual is the understanding of yourself and others. Even without traveling, your perception of the world around you can be transformed. Believe it or not, bilingual can even perceive greater variations of color than monolinguals.

        It’s even common for bilinguals to adopt different characteristics as they speak different languages. Many have even admitted to feeling different about themselves and acting differently according to these languages.

        One study found that changing of self-perception, or “Frame-shifting,” is far more prevalent in second language speakers. Those fluent in two languages were seen to perceive themselves differently as they spoke to each one. Whats more, even adverts in different languages are perceived differently.

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

        If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

        Example 1

        You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

        You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

        In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

        Example 2

        You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

        People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

        You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

        Example 3

        You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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        The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

        Example 4

        You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

        Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

        If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

        Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

        • Understand your own communication style
        • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
        • Communicate with precision and care
        • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

        1. Understand Your Communication Style

        To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

        In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

        Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

        2. Learn Others Communication Styles

        Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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        If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

        “How do you prefer to receive information?”

        This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

        To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

        3. Exercise Precision and Care

        A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

        On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

        Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

        I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

        I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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        In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

        The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

        Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

        4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

        Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

        In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

        “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

        Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

        Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

        It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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        It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

        It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

        Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

        Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

        The Bottom Line

        When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

        I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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        Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

        Reference

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