Learning one’s native language is necessary because it is an essential component of culture, community, and nation. But as things have changed, so have the demands for learning a second language. Conflicts and missed opportunities, especially in trade and business, might result from a language barrier. In order to ensure that pupils are prepared to take advantage of any opportunities given by bilingualism, schools are pushing their kids to study a second language. Additionally, applicants must have proficiency in a second language in order to submit college applications. As a result, learning a second language is crucial. Although it may take time and energy, learning a second language has many benefits. Some of the benefits tied to learning a second language include higher chances of employment, improvement in one’s social life, and a boost in creativity and self-confidence. As well, learning a second language has been associated with brain development and other cognitive benefits (Bahrani, 2013).
Learning a second language is beneficial because it equips an individual to fit in several job prospects. Employers recognize the value of an employee who can understand various languages since they can serve customers from different regions of the world. As such, acquiring a second language increases one’s chances of finding employment especially in the tourist and travel industry. These industries involve interaction with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures (Moss, 2015). As such, employees who are equipped with a second language can comfortably handle customers from different backgrounds. In addition, organizations, which have ventured globally, are also interested in employees who have acquired a language from the countries in which they operate. This is due to the ease in working with locals thus making both local colleagues and customers feel at ease. As such, bilingual employees are important to such companies since they easily bridge the cultural group. Consequently, such individuals are highly paid and indispensable due to the language benefit (Xamaní, 2015).
Bilingual individuals also enjoy social benefits from the added language. For instance, it is easy to meet people and make friends through speaking their language. As such, it is difficult for a non-local individual to encounter difficulties in a country whose language they can speak. For instance, it is easy to lose direction in a new city or town. However, when the individual knows the language, he or she can easily consult locals for directions through friendly chats. Learning a second language also makes travel and tourism easy and enjoyable (Hall-Lew & Lew, 2014). Tourists who study the language of their tourist destinations find their visits more enjoyable. Since they can understand the local language, they are in a position to experience things first hand instead of using the help of an interpreter who can miss important details. As well, it is easy for a bilingual individual to hold a meaningful conversation with the locals thus a better understanding of their culture. Apart from that, locals are friendly to non-natives who can speak their language. As such, they feel proud of a foreigner who enjoys and appreciate their culture. Therefore, it is easy to maintain a relationship with them thus making the stay in a foreign country or town fun and exciting. Other social benefits for bilingual individuals include easy shopping in local markets hence enjoying discounts (Hall-Lew & Lew, 2014). As well, it is difficult to be duped since one can read the price tags without help.
Studies have proven that studying a second language boosts the brain. Speaking a new language keeps the brain alert hence better focus and concentration. As such, people who study an additional language enjoy improved brain activity despite their age. Therefore, it is easy for them to stay alert for longer hence maximum concentration. Consequently, they get better results, especially in a work or school setting. Apart from that learning, a new language boosts the memory. Therefore, individuals who study a second language have a longer memory. This is beneficial especially for students who are required to constantly remember important concepts so they can apply them in real life (Osterhout, 2008). As well, people who speak more than one language are less likely to suffer from old age cognitive risks such as memory loss and Alzheimer. Results have shown that learning a new language is the best protective method against dementia and Alzheimer. The activities involved in learning and speaking a new language have been proven to rewire the brain hence prompting it to react faster. As well, the practice increases brain activity thus reducing the chances for dormant brain cells hence delaying the onset of the disorders (Osterhout, 2008).
A second language is also beneficial because it enables an individual to maintain self-confidence. Individuals who can speak more than one language have better chances of expressing themselves. Therefore, it boosts their image and hence self-confidence. Apart from that, bilingualism opens opportunities to a wide range of information. As such, persons who can speak, read and understand more than one language are well informed as opposed to those who only speak a single language. Consequently, bilinguals can better their lives through making informed decisions since they are informed (Noels, 2000). Making mistakes is also associated with boosting confidence as it helps overcome the inner fears. As such, one can be able to explore new things such as public speaking, which they feared before trying the new language. Studies have also shown that bilingual students are better performers especially in vocabulary and math tests than those who only speak their native language. Learning a new language increases chances of interaction and hence easy gathering of information. As well, the bilingual students are more confident and ready to try things inside and out of class (Noels, 2000). As well, they are not afraid to further their studies in foreign countries since they have already conquered the language barrier.
Learning a new language is also beneficial to people who enjoy artwork. People from different countries have ventured into filmmaking using their native language. For instance, Asian countries such as China and India have produced films using their native language. The films can only be viewed by use of subtitles. As such, it is easy to miss important details when enjoying the films. However, individuals who have studied the native language are able to enjoy such kind of artwork to the maximum. Apart from that it also easy to understand the world when one can understand several languages. It is easy to follow up on current affairs from different countries thus identifying what is happening outside one’s country. As such, one can compare and contrast the opportunities and issues in their country (Mitchell, Myles & Marsden, 2013). Other benefits of learning a new language include the acquisition of new tactics, which can be beneficial in life. For instance, the tactics used to learn the new language can also be applied to improve one’s academic performance. As well, learning a second language also helps an individual to understand and appreciate his or her language better. An individual is able to view their culture and language from another perspective hence understanding it much better (Mitchell, Myles & Marsden, 2013).
To sum up, despite the numerous advantages associated with learning a second language, the process is time-consuming and can be tiresome. As such, people who are interested in studying a new language should be patient during the learning process. It also requires a lot of practice hence can interfere with the individual’s daily schedule especially those with strict working conditions. As well, learning a new language requires a tutor and hence can be expensive. As such, people who cannot afford a professional tutor rely on locals who can mislead the learner by teaching them improper language (Mitchell, Myles & Marsden, 2013). Those who rely on the internet to learn a language must have access to internet connection, which may be expensive. However, the process can also be fun and enjoyable especially for people who like to explore new ideas. Due to the increasing needs to learn a second language, every individual should make an effort to learn at least one new language in their lifetime. Therefore, learning a new language should be taken as an adventure where one is ready to experience and discover new tactics.
Bahrani, T. (2013). The importance of Language Input in Language Learning. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, 6(10), 1376-1379.
Hall-Lew, L. A., & Lew, A. A. (2014). Speaking Heritage: Language, Identity, and Tourism. In Blackwell Companion to Tourism (pp. 336-348).
Mitchell, R., Myles, F., & Marsden, E. (2013). Second language learning theories. Routledge.
Moss, B. T. (2015). Foreign language teachers’ attitudes and the benefits of learning a second language (Doctoral dissertation).
Noels, K. A., Pelletier, L. G., Clément, R., & Vallerand, R. J. (2000). Why are you learning a second language? Motivational orientations and self‐determination theory. Language learning, 50(1), 57-85.
Osterhout, L., Poliakov, A., Inoue, K., McLaughlin, J., Valentine, G., Pitkanen, I., … Hirschensohn, J. (2008). Second-language learning and changes in the brain. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 21(6), 509-521. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroling.2008.01.001
Xamaní, M. I. (2015). Second Language Acquisition and the Language Tourism Experience. 15th International Conference of the Spanish Association of Language and Literature Education, 178, 139-145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.03.170