Getting in Touch with Other Cultures: Emotional and Mental Benefits of Learning a New Language

learning a new language

If you could learn one skill that would earn you a higher salary and could put off dementia for 5 years – would you?

Of course, you would! Those are just two of the benefits of learning another language. There are more – including seeming more attractive to romantic partners.

Want to learn more about why you should learn mas? Or Plus? (Spanish, French for more)

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A Word on Studies

During this article, we’ll talk about studies done on bilingual children. They’re still relevant to the adult brain, as kids grow up to be adults.

Researchers do studies on younger children because they’ve been less shaped by the world around them. That’s to say that they haven’t learned to be one way or another.

It’s a more organic way of getting results in a study.

The Benefits of Learning Another Language

Have you ever seen a movie where someone immediately likes someone more (romantically) because they have an accent? It may not just be the accent – there are some pretty hefty benefits of being bilingual.

Here are a select few …

People Will Like You More (Including You!)

You know the feeling of pride the first time you use your second language and people understand it without a second thought? It’s one of the best kinds of highs in the world.

And your body feels that success too – your body and mind.

A study in 2010 found that bilingual children are less anxious and less depressive. They even found that those children had more friends, but not based off of any petty popularity aspect.

Scientists think that bilingual people have more friends because they can relate to more people – like those that speak a different language.

But that wasn’t the end of this study either. Those same children were less likely to get in fights with other children and calmed down quicker than other children when upset.

That’s a lot of positive benefits for something as simple as learning a different language. Which is actually simple, if you catch the brain when it’s young enough.

While we can’t go back in time and raise you as a bilingual speaker, you can get some of these benefits. Committing to and learning to speak another language can give you a little pep in your step – at any age.

It Makes You More Understanding

A child’s brain is a very “plastic” thing. And that’s the scientific term, neuroplasticity. It means that what we teach children at a young age literally shapes how they think for life.

And that means how they think about other humans – not just how they do science or math.

We don’t need to tell you that the world could use some more understanding, empathy, and relating to others. We do need to tell you that there are studies that show bilingual children are the people who will probably end up doing it.

In a study, researchers gave monolingual and bilingual two situations, both about ducks.

They asked the children what the duck said, and both answered Quack. But then the researchers detailed out a situation where let’s say (we don’t know exactly) the duck was adopted by a family of dogs.

Then they asked the children what this duck living with dogs would say. The bilingual children mostly said the duck would bark, while the monolingual children still said quack.

What does that mean in a non-research setting? The bilingual children had a better understanding of how situations can affect and change people – which is a cornerstone of empathy.

It Makes Your Brain Bigger

If you thought your brain was done growing along with your physical body (at least height wise) you’d be right – unless you speak a different language.

We’re born with all the brain cells we’ll ever have – about 10,000. As we live and learn, we prune or get rid of the cells we don’t use, like how you know you learned the State capitals but can never remember them.

You can’t create more brain cells. but you can stop your brain from shrinking and pruning when you learn a language. The part of your brain that processes language, will stay healthier and plumper (if you will) for longer.

This is one reason scientists believe being bilingual leads to our next point …

It Keeps Your Brain Active for Longer

Do you have a history of Alzheimers and Dementia in your family? Are you watching or did you watch the heartbreaking process of a loved one forgetting who you are?

If you’re getting up there in age, you’re probably afraid of hurting your loved ones that way (eventually).

We can’t promise that it’ll never happen, but we can tell you that learning another language can put that situation off for a few years.

A study showed that bilingual don’t experience dementia onset until 75, while monolingual people experience it at 70 or 71.

It Makes Your Native Language Better

As you learn another language, you have to revisit parts of speech you forgot about. Like pronouns and adverbs etc. Learning those in another language strengthens them in your first language.

Need help with those pesky parts of speech? Get more info.

What else could you want from a fun new hobby?

How to Start

Now that you know some of the many reasons why you should learn a new language, what are you waiting for?

Sign up for some classes at your local college or take a course online. You can even use an app to practice learning another language daily.

Need some other suggestions about how to raise your self-esteem? Here are 9 tips