Happy New Year, dear Sleepy reader!
So you may be considering what is a worthwhile goal to pursue in 2022. Might we interest you in considering learning a new language as one? And we don’t mean another programming language (although this could be beneficial too). What we mean is the language spoken by people from a different culture. It could be anything from languages spoken by small tribes to more mainstream languages like Spanish, Mandarin, or German.
Did you just say that you’re too old to learn another language?
There’s no such thing as being too old to learn anything, even though it might take longer compared to someone younger.
Think of learning a language as adding another skill to your repertoire. It will not only enable you to communicate in a different tongue but can improve your brain’s plasticity as well.
Nevertheless, many are hesitant to take the first step because it’s time-consuming or there’s no immediate return on investment. We do not dispute the possibility of either scenario being true nor disregard the advantages that a new language can bring. The only way to know for sure is to throw caution to the wind and take the dive.
Here are some advantages of learning a new language.
Benefits of Learning A New Language
1. You Will Be More Confident
Being able to speak a new language can give you a sense of achievement which can, in turn, boost your confidence in other aspects of your life. It’s similar to achieving anything, really, but knowing that you can still succeed no matter your circumstances can be a huge motivational booster.
2. You Will Improve Intellectually
Studies have demonstrated that learning a new language can improve your mental capacity.
Learning a new language is in many ways similar to making sense of a puzzle. You are training the neurons in your brain to create associations between unfamiliar words and sounds until they become second nature. It also requires that you store the information in your long-term memory, which in itself takes time and effort to realize.
Practice, after all, makes permanent.
3. It Opens Up the Opportunity to Make New Friends
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of learning a new tongue is all the new friends you will make. Imagine being able to understand others both verbally and in written form without having to struggle in your communication. How wonderful would this be?
There is also a good chance that people will be more appreciative of you putting in the effort to learn their language.
4. There Are Career Benefits to It
Living in a connected world means there’s a greater chance of you encountering people from different backgrounds and cultures. Regardless of what industry you’re in, the vocational advantages of understanding a different language are various, and you will find many businesses prefer to hire those who can communicate in multiple languages. Having more than one language listed in your curriculum vitae can therefore be the one factor that gives you an edge over others.
5. Traveling Made Easier With Another Language
This is probably the most obvious benefit of knowing another language. Imagine how much easier it’d be not having to use a translator when you are in a foreign land. Directions, menus, and verbal/written communication will no longer be a hassle as you integrate seamlessly into the community by knowing their language.
There is also something inherently satisfying about being able to fluently read and speak another tongue, more so when you are far and away.
6. You Will Be More Compassionate
Knowing another language will allow you to view and understand things from perspectives that differ from your own. For example, the Japanese language is constructed in a way that clearly distinguishes formal from informal words, and which version to use is strictly based on a hierarchical system.
How to Start Learning a New Language
You will first have to commit the time, energy, and possibly money if you want to learn a different language.
The easiest way to get started is to involve someone who teaches/speaks the language and start practicing together regularly. You can, alternatively, search for language courses online if this suits your circumstances better.
Start with understanding the building blocks of the language that you’re trying to learn and go from there. Don’t worry if you find yourself struggling because constant exposure is the key to learning a new skill. Know that it will take some time to be good at it but the rewards that you can reap will more than compensate for the investment involved.