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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 September 20, 2018

        7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

        7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

        What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

        For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

        It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

        1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

        The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

        What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

        The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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        2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

        Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

        How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

        If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

        Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

        3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

        Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

        If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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        These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

        What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

        4. What are my goals in life?

        Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

        Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

        5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

        Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

        Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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        You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

        Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

        6. What do I not like to do?

        An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

        What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

        Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

        The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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        7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

        Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

        But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

        “What do I want to do with my life?”

        So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

        Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

        Reference

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