Learning a Second Language – Benefits of Bilingualism
In the time of google translate, many of us find ourselves questioning the utility of learning a second language. For many of us, language acquisition can be a daunting prospect. This summer, travel seems unlikely and possibilities for in-person communal learning are few. The decision of whether or not to learn a second language may not at the forefront of your mind. However, learning a second language can be an enriching experience. It is an opportunity to expand, the way that you engage with the external world. The benefits of picking up a new language include increasing your adeptness with your first language. It can expand your community, and engage you with new experiential opportunities.
Why would learning a second language help improve my first?
It may seem counterintuitive, but learning a second language can actually refine your acuity in your first language. When we learn to understand and speak our mother tongue, we do so automatically. It is something we develop out of our infancy. We have no memory of learning our first language. Thus, the processes of learning a new language are novel to us. In the United States, the primary and secondary education systems lack focus on the foundations of grammar. Declensions, verb forms, and sentence structure are not focused on.
The benefits of learning another language pairs aural learning with the fundamentals of grammar. By learning the basics of another language, tends to help you reflect on the mechanisms of the English language. For instance, you might begin to find it easier to identify passive verb forms. In your writing, you might develop a better understanding of the range of punctuation options in English. Good writing is all about variance. Having the ability to alternate between various structures and forms keeps your reader alert.
All of us are guilty of falling into the same patterns of language. Our writing is based on the self-selected array literature that we have been exposed to. We can expand our abilities in our first language. This generation of students are reading less and less, and learning a second language can additionally present opportunities for vocabulary acquisition.
Expanding community & experiences
Learning a second language can also expand both your immediate and potential communities. It could allow you to make new friends or professional connections in your city, open up possibilities of working or living abroad, or even allow you to engage with new music, media, or art. All of us have more indoor time this summer than we typically do and, although that may seem to be a circumstantial deterrent, it is actually a wonderful opportunity. There are more online communities emerging, and, as many of us transition to increasingly remote forms of work, there may be more opportunities to work abroad.
Another benefit of learning a second language is that it forces all of us to listen. If you are someone that relies heavily on language in your business engagements and interpersonal relationships, learning a second language can push you out of your comfort zone and inspire growth. In the beginning stages of learning a new language, it can be a valuable experience to have trouble articulating yourself or communicating with others. This experience can push you to get creative and also compel you to listen. Practicing the art of listening can be immensely valuable, no matter what language you are communicating in.
Is there an area of the world that you have always been curious about? Take on the challenge of learning a second language this summer and bring the world to your front door. Getting started does not have to be stressful, and the benefits of learning a second language are countless. Gooroo is here to help you embark on your next great adventure.