10 Proven Benefits Of Learning A Second Language

1. Makes you more intelligent

Well, yes, but no. While intelligence is a broad topic, there are no studies that suggest that speaking two languages actually makes you more intelligent. However, studies have shown that speaking two languages makes our brains work harder and uses more cognitive processes.

So how does it work? Speaking two languages exercises our brains and can help make them more efficient.

2. Helps you think more efficiently

Cognitive strategies are related by creating plans and making ways to achieve a goal. Language is another tool that helps us organize ideas and goals in our head, by creating sentences and ideas out of grammar and syntax.[1]

So how does it work? If someone speaks two languages rather than one, they will double their ability, making them more able to reason and understand logic, as well as possess a wider internal classification system.

3. Speaking two languages can help improve memory

Being bilingual can help improve memory, attention, and learning processes. Speaking two languages makes our brain use different parts of the brain that “monolinguals” don’t use, which makes the bilingual brain more flexible and efficient.

So how does it work? Speaking two languages creates new synapses, or connections within the brain, making us more able to easily remember information. This means that people who speak two languages have a greater ability to remember information, and, as such, have more memory.

4. Improves attention and concentration

Another important benefit of being bilingual is our ability to pay attention and concentrate. It’s been proven that people who speak two languages have an easier time inhibiting the irrelevant information that we receive, compared to monolinguals.[2]

So how does it work? Knowing how to capture relevant information and omit what is irrelevant is an important part of attention and concentration.

5. Makes you better able to understand your language

Learning a second language helps us realize that one’s native language isn’t the only way to communicate and see the world. Each word in our language is associated with a concept or mental image.

So how does it work? Sometimes there are words in one language that don’t exist in another, which makes us more able to think about a specific word.

6. Helps to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

A study published in the journal Annals of Neurology by Dr. Thomas Bak from the University of Edinburgh explains some of the benefits of being bilingual. First, the study explains that people who speak more than one language have improved cognitive skills and suffer less cognitive deterioration than their monolingual counterparts, especially when it comes to reading and writing. The study also states that those who speak two languages slow brain aging, regardless of the age when they learn the second language. There’s no reason not to start now!

So how does it work? Speaking more than one language delays cognitive deterioration, which can help delay diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s.[3][4]

7. Opens doors to job opportunities

This isn’t a secret, but it’s true that being bilingual is a great way to stand out from the crowd when it comes to looking for jobs.

So how does it work? Not only does it make you a more desirable candidate, but it also gives you the opportunity to travel and work abroad.

8. Improves social relationships

Being bilingual doesn’t only have the potential to improve your career, but it can also improve social relationships.

So how does it work? Speaking two languages can’t help you being shy, but it can improve your ability to speak with new people and expand your world view, and can help you feel more confident and improve self-esteem.

9. Allows you to learn new cultures and ideas

Speaking a local foreign language can expand our knowledge and help us understand the possible cultural nuances of each place.

So how does it work? The culture of each country and region are specific to that place, and speaking the language can help us integrate into the society and learn more about how they live.

10. Increases creativity

This is related to all of the points above. Being bilingual can help us be more creative.

So how does it work? If we have a more flexible brain, we have better access to memories, can concentrate better, and can associate different cognitive strategies and solutions.
How Learning Languages Affects Our Brain Infographic

Image Source: Sunbelt Staffing

About The Author

Mario de Vincente is a writer at CogniFit, a major vendor in neuropsychological assessments, and is passionate about the brain and how it works. Mario hopes to help teach and inspire others with his research.