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When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You

When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You

Learning a second language is not a walk in the park. But if you decide to do it, the most amazing things will happen to you.

Language teachers have heard just about every possible excuse from students explaining why they’re not able to learn a language right now. Out of the dozens of reasons claimed by these students, none of them are legitimate reasons. Not one.

I don’t have enough time…”
“I learned a language already but I forgot it…”
“It’s just not the right time for me right now…”

It’s likely that you have some of these excuses floating around in your head too. And so did many people who have since learned a new language successfully.

Learning a language is no different from making time to go to the gym. Making time to read a book. It’s all a matter of priorities and commitment. The obstacle is rarely about finding ways to learn a language, but about understanding why you should learn a language.

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Not enough people are talking about the latter, but scientific research has revealed some amazing things that will happen when you learn a new language.

Today, we’ll share 7 amazing things that will happen when you learn a second language (or third, or fourth).

1. Make Decisions That You Used To Struggle Making

The first benefit has the potential to change the lives of many people reading this. Learning a language can help you make decisions faster and more effectively. According to a study done at the University of Chicago, learning a second language can help you eliminate loss aversion, which will allow you to make smarter decisions that will pay off long-term.

You will train in and develop a process for making fast decisions during your language speaking practice. You will be forced to make a decision about what a word or sentence means or about how to say a specific thing, and you will constantly be testing whether it makes sense. There’s no time to reflect when you’re having a live conversation with someone.

Not all of us were born to resist marshmallows when we were young, but we can always train our brains to be tougher. Learning a second language will help you do just that.

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2. Expand Your Career Opportunities And Mindset On A Global Scale

The world is becoming a more global place by the second. Companies in your country are doing more business than ever across the world, and there’s a severe shortage of bilingual speakers. Even if you do not fluently speak a second language, having another language under your belt will immediately show others that you’re a globally-minded individual with cultural experiences that other candidates can’t offer.

The Economist calculated the bonus income one can make from knowing certain languages:

  • Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus
  • French — 2.3 percent bonus
  • German — 3.8 percent bonus

    If you want to get the full list, check out this post on the most useful languages to learn for your career.

    3. Become A More Interesting Person For Others To Talk To

    Learning a second language is not just about adding a language to your repertoire, but about encountering a completely new culture. Many people are fascinated when they learn about new cultures they’re not familiar with.

    More importantly, becoming bilingual will help you connect and be more relatable to other people, especially if you speak a popular language like Spanish or Mandarin. Being fluent is not necessary to achieve this: even having basic conversational skills can do wonders for how people perceive you and for how much value you can add for others. Many of today’s problems come from miscommunication and from people’s feelings of disconnection from others. You’ll be surprised how much speaking someone’s language can unite you with them and allow you to hear what they have to say.

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    4. Experience Travel In A Completely New Way

    Planning trips does not have to be limited to searching on TripAdvisor or simply asking people in your inner circle. There’s a whole different world available to you if you remove some language barriers. Just as you know your city better than any journalist would, local native speakers will be able to show you the hot spots within a city that you would have never discovered on your own. Speaking a second language will allow you to build relationships with locals who will give you an insider’s view of your destination.

    More importantly, you’ll have a global network of friends who you can rely on wherever you are around the world.

    5. Learn A Third, Fourth, Or Fifth Language With Ease

    Once you learn a second language, learning a third, fourth, or fifth language will be much easier. Like building a business or achieving any goal, the process of learning a language can be replicated more easily after you’ve done it once. The first time around is usually the hardest.

    “Every time I learn a new language, I find it easier than the one before. The reasoning is simple: with every new language I study, I figure out ways to learn more efficiently.” -Benny Lewis

    With each language, your confidence improves, your resilience increases, and you develop learning hacks based on your previous language learning experiences.

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    6. Remember Things You Previously Couldn’t Remember

    Scientists and researchers often refer to the brain as a muscle. Similarly to how we get our bodies in shape, we train our brains to remember new words and to think on the spot, and we connect new neurons in our minds.

    With more training, your brain will naturally strengthen, just like a muscle. Small things that you would have previously forgotten will then become easier to remember.

    7. Feel More Connected To Your Roots And Self

    Something strange happens when you’re learning a language, something that rarely occurs in your daily life. With the culture that you discover from your second language, you begin to think about your own heritage. You will reflect more on where you come from, the history of your ancestors, and ultimately where you fit into this world.

    Becoming bilingual makes you come to terms with how you view the world. It will enhance your appreciation of the world you live in, your own culture, and ultimately who you are as an individual.

    More by this author

    Sean Kim

    Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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    Last Updated on November 12, 2020

    13 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory

    13 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory

    Life is made up of memories, what you have seen, heard, and done. Every bit of information you take in is only useful if you can remember it at the right time. How can you improve memory and ensure information is there when you need it?

    There are many scientific theories and observations on how memories work. These theories provide us with an understanding of how feelings, routine, context, and recollection affect our memories. Here are some tips backed by scientific insights for improving memory.

    1. Method of Loci

    Method of Loci is a popular mnemonic technique that helps you recollect a large amount of information.[1] It works by utilizing your spatial and navigational skills as you envision your memories as part of a geographical entity. This is the technique that the famous fictional detective Sherlock calls the Mind Palace.

    memory techniques loci

      This method is extremely useful when you are preparing for a speech or an exam[2]. Here is how you can make use of it:

      • Visualize a space you are most familiar with. It could be your home, your favorite park, or your school.
      • Construct the rooms, shelves, furniture, and everything inside it in your mind.
      • Imagine yourself keeping the items you want to remember in each of the rooms or in/on/around specific objects.
      • Next time you want to remember something, walk through room by room to recall what you placed there.

      Repeating this exercise has proven to be a great way to improve memory and remember loads of information with ease.

      You can learn more about this method in this article: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

      2. Acronyms

      Acronyms are proven to be very effective in memorizing a group of words. Research has shown that our brains are better at retrieving things when we associate meaning to them.[3] This is why recollecting a single meaningful word or phrase is easy compared to trying to remember a list of words.

      For instance, to memorize the directions on the compass, you can use the acronym NEWS (North, East, West, and South); or, when you want to remember the Great Lakes basin, you can make us of the acronym HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior), etc.

      Make up your own acronyms to the list of things you want to remember. All you need to do is list the things that you want to memorize and arrange them in an order such that the first letter of each word spells a real word.

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      3. Rhyming

      There is a reason why rhymes are still a popular way to teach kids. Our brains are great at acoustic encoding, which means breaking down sound structures.[4] We can easily remember stuff when they sound similar.

      The peg method can help you out. You first need to memorize the list in the exact order given below:

      one = bun

      two = shoe

      three= tree

      four = door

      five = hive

      six = sticks

      seven = heaven

      eight = gate

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      nine = vine

      ten = hen

      After you have memorized this list, now connect the first word to bun, second word to shoe, and so on. This will help you in making a memorable connection.

      Another way is to construct rhymes on the information you want to remember. For instance, if you want to remember that Mr. Jones runs a real-estate business, you can remember him with a rhyme:Mr. Jones from Homes.

      Although this may seem a bit weird and funny, this method will help you to improve memory overall.

      4. Linking

      This is a useful technique to help you stay sharp in many everyday scenarios, like remembering shopping lists. This is a visualization and association technique where you associate meaning to visual imagery. However, it is important to ensure that the images stored in your mind are as vivid as possible.

      For instance, if you want to remember a set of items, just link them up in a story. Let’s say that you want to remember the South England countries: Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Somerset, Surrey, and Wiltshire.

      You can link all these countries in the form of a story to improve memory. An AVON lady is looking for a house. She is sweating and thirsty due to high SUMMER (Somerset). Along the way, she came across a giant CORN (Cornwall), but it is about to WILT (Wiltshire), etc.

      5. Chunking

      Very few people bother to remember phone numbers by heart nowadays. But what if you lose your contacts and need a way to recollect those long numbers? This memory technique will be handy in those situations.

      Chunking is basically breaking down the information into smaller pieces that are easy to remember. Start with a small number, say 379372518. Break it to three chunks 378 372 518. Improve your skills every day by trying to remember more numbers this way.

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      6. Write It Down

      Writing stimulates your reticular activating system (RAS).[5] So whenever you are trying to learn something and improve memory, try writing it down. Review what you have written and test yourself.

      You can also hand draw memory maps to further develop your memorization power.

      7. Be Busy

      Repeat all your brain exercises regularly and keep testing yourself to get better. A recent study revealed that our brain needs to be busy to keep itself fit as well.[6]

      Test yourself repeatedly if you want to retain the correct information for the longest time.

      Take walks or indulge in some physical activities as well. Research shows that healthy people who exercise regularly have better memories than those who don’t.

      8. Give Yourself a Good Sleep

      Sleeping is very much necessary if you want to improve memory. A tired body that lacks sleep will not be able to recollect or retain information effectively. Rest well and make sure your body and mind are rejuvenated every day.

      Furthermore, studies show that a lack of sleep can increase risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease[7]. Do your body and mind a favor and get a good night’s sleep as often as possible.

      9. Eat Healthy

      Try to include more memory-boosting fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet to improve memory. A study conducted by Harvard medical school backs this as well. Scientists believe that the antioxidants and vitamins from vegetables and fruits help to reduce oxidative stress in the brain and help battle age-related memory issues.[8]

      Learn about the brain foods you should include in your diet: 12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      10. Play Video Games and Brain Training Apps

      Now here is a fun way to improve memory. Playing video games may not seem the best way to study for an exam, but regular video game playing can actually improve certain memory-associated regions of the brain. Studies have shown that video games helps in total knowledge recall and can reduce dementia risk.[9]

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      Considering the benefits, maybe you can make brain training apps a regular pastime or something to do on your breaks.

      11. Think of the Ways in Which Things Relate to You

      According to a recent research, you can boost your memory considerably by contemplating why the information is important to you.[10] This signals your brain to convert the short-term memories into long-term ones, thus helping you remember effortlessly.

      12. Exercise Regularly

      You might not see this coming, but people who exercise daily, whether it be leisurely walking or long-distance running, have better memories when compared to their counterparts who do no physical activity.[11]

      If you’re really interested in learning how to improve memory, shoot for aerobic exercises to reduce cognitive decline and increase blood flow.

      13. Pay Attention to Essence

      Although practice makes perfect, this might not necessarily be true when it comes to boosting memory. Scientists have found that while repetitive practice could help you in remembering things, you might miss out on the bigger picture.[12]

      Do you remember that one presentation when you memorized everything by heart without giving much thought to it? What happened next? Someone interrupted in the middle, and you were not able to recall information after.

      Thus, rote repetition will not do any good. You need to complement repetition through a proper understanding of the finer details.

      The Bottom Line

      Sharpening your memory is not rocket science. All you need to do is follow the fun and simple ways mentioned above to improve memory, and eat right to boost your brain health!

      For more tips on boosting your memory, check out the following video:

      More on How to Improve Memory

      Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

      Reference

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