There are quite a few obvious reasons to learn a new language. For people relocating to another city or adapting to a different culture, it’s a downright necessity when trying to get around.What’s more, with English now well settled as the international language, many employers require at least a basic level of fluency. And in a city like Montreal, both English and French will most often be required. But learning a new language can have surprising side-effects…
Get a brain boost
Studies have shown that learning a new language is one of the best ways to train your brain. It is proven to improve your short and long-term memory, which is no wonder when you consider the massive amount of new vocabulary to assimilate. Luckily, learning a new language is not all on your memory’s shoulders. As you make connections between your new knowledge and notions you are already familiar with, you cement your learning on the long-term. And while you work your memory and logic, you will find these mental exercises apply to more than just languages: learning to count and perform basic math in another language, for example, is the type of mental rewiring that helps grow your logical and conceptual abilities.
Master your mother tongue
It is with these new connections that you will rediscover your own mother tongue. Things you have always taken for granted in your speech and grammar will suddenly appear to you in all their inexplicable glory. Learning the mechanisms and quirks of a new language will make you much more aware of your own tongue’s subtleties. Becoming a more self-aware speaker, writer and reader can only heighten your use of language.
Deepen your cultural knowledge
Learning a language is like getting an inside look at the culture instead of just peeking through the window. Not only is it an intrinsic part of the culture in itself, language is the key to all its other elements: film, arts, politics, history… The layers of meaning within such sectors are multiplied tenfold when seen through the lens of their very own vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.
Enter the best of vicious circles!
When learning your first new language, the number of similarities and connections you are able to make with your mother tongue is quite surprising. Imagine this number multiplied exponentially with every new language! Now, you might be thinking,learning one new language is more than enough. But that is without taking in consideration its most common side-effect: a magnified sense of curiosity! You will soon find opportunities to learn everywhere you go: on the menu of that new restaurant, while watching a movie set in another country, in the name of a store you have been going to for years… Lean into it! Order a dish you have never heard of, judge the accent of an actor trying to sound German, strike-up a conversation with a shop owner. The more you will know, the more you will want to learn.