More than likely, you currently speak the only language you technically need to know. You can live the rest of your life comfortably knowing that you will probably not find yourself in a situation where it is required to speak a second language. That’s fine. If you’re cool with that then simply stop reading here and go do something else.
That being said, there are benefits to learning a second language that go beyond simply having the ability to speak a second language. Because it’s the middle of the week and I’m sure attention spans are already low, I’ll get right into them.
Learning a second language will make you smarter
Picking up a new language is complicated. You’re forced to learn new concepts and intricate conjugations, which naturally helps the brain develop further cognitive function. Your critical thinking and problem solving skills will improve, which obviously has quite a bit of significance in both personal and professional capacities.
On top of this, your memory will improve. When you’re learning a language you’re not only constantly introduced to new words, but new rules as well. To continue to excel in your new language you have to constantly remember and recall these words and rules. Keeping your brain active allows it to improve it’s memory functions.
On top of that your brain develops an increased capacity for observation. You may not go full Sherlock Holmes and “see everything,” but the brains ability to observe surroundings and pick up oddities will improve. Studies have shown your aptitude for recognizing informational misleading and deception increases as well. I can think of plenty of reasons why that would be useful.
On top of all those things, it keeps your mind sharper longer. It can essentially delay the onset of dementia by years.
Learning a second language will help you function better
Someone who learns multiple languages has trained in the arts of translation, rules, and finding meaning. This bleeds into other areas of life. You are able to more easily examine your surrounding and the choices that are presented to you, making decisions easier to process. This, also, leads to increased confidence in decision making.
You’re also able to multi-task better. Moving from one language to another is no simple feat. It requires focus and flexibility on behalf of the brain. This leads to the ability to focus on different things simultaneously, boosting your multi-tasking abilities. Being better at multi-tasking has been linked to decreased stress, as it is more difficult to become overwhelmed.
Learning a second language makes you a more marketable human
This is key, especially in America because we are probably one of the worst countries when it comes to learning second languages, although it may just be all cultures where English is our first language. You will set yourself apart from others if you are multilingual. That’s just a fact. I’ve personally gotten a job solely based on my ability to speak Spanish. The job had no Spanish speaking required whatsoever, but good recruiters and HR reps will acknowledge the attributes that come with the willingness to learn a second language.
So job security is one example where you’re more marketable, clearly. If you have the same resume as someone else going for a job, but you speak a second language, I can almost guarantee you’re getting the job…unless of course you’re a terrible interviewer which might hurt you worse than a language can help you. Either way. I got that job when I was less qualified than the other interviewers, my boss specifically told me, because I spoke Spanish.
Also just think how much more marketable you are socially. You can now communicate with millions more people, for starters. The moment your peers find out you are multilingual their respect naturally rises, as it’s not something (again speaking more about English speaking countries) that is expected of you.
And if you don’t think you’ll be perceived as more attractive with a multi language resume, you’re crazy. The ability to speak multiple languages makes you more marketable in the dating world as well. Speak another language in front of an American girl and tell me I’m wrong.
What are you waiting for?
Sharper mind, better decisions, more social, more marketable. If those don’t interest you than keep on keeping on being monolingual. But if you’re ready to be the best version of yourself, go ahead and download Duolingo or pick up Rosetta Stone and join me in the multilingual world.