Make learning a language your New Year's Resolution.
Smartphones have changed how we learn languages. We can learn vocabulary on smartphone apps; watch YouTube videos about pronunciation, you can even plan your cultural and linguistic exchange with online platforms such as Kinder Exchange and Twin Exchange. All this from the comfort of home, during your lunch break, or even on the bus. What could be easier?
As it’s getting easier to learn languages outside of the classroom, more and more people are learning English as a foreign language. This has left us native Anglophones wondering “why learn a foreign language when everyone speaks English?”. Well, here are just a few of many reasons why learning a foreign language should be your New Year's Resolution:
See the world differently
Numerous studies have found that by learning a foreign language you can open yourself up to a new world view and learn to consider multiple perspectives by viewing actions and their consequences in a different way. This is because different languages put different emphasis on certain aspects and instances of an event. By learning to express experiences according to the structure of the foreign language, you can learn to experience the world differently too.
Drink in the culture
"Absolutely nothing is so important for a nation's culture as its language" - Wilhelm von Humboldt
When travelling many of us depend on talking louder and waving our arms about to get our point across, but what if you want to get to know the locals, be independent, and venture off the tourist trail? Learning the local language is the key to understanding and participating in the culture of the people who speak it.
Train your brain
Studies have shown that bilingual brains function differently to those of single language speakers, the benefits of being bilingual include better multi-tasking, problem-solving and decision-making abilities, as well as a better memory.
Improve your English
Learning a foreign language can deepen your understanding of your native tongue. By focussing on the grammar, vocabulary and sound of another language, you learn to pay more attention to these elements of your own language, improving your communication and listening skills in your mother tongue. In a similar way, learning about other cultures can teach you a lot about your own culture!
So why not open yourself up to a whole world of opportunities and make learning a language your New Year's Resolution this year?
Written by Hati Whiteley.