There’s quite a range of personal developmental benefits that can be brought on by the ability to speak another language, but only 9.3% of Americans can speak 2 languages. This contrasts greatly to Europeans, since over 52% of them fluently speak 2 languages. These statistics have been researched by the California State University. Learning a new language has been found to help children to think outside the box, and also to be far more competitive in what’s now a highly competitive global job market.
Bonuses to Creative and Cognitive Development
The “Language Learning” journal, published in 1991, contained a study that focused on the abilities of children that learned a second language(compared to children that spoke one language). It detailed how the better problem solvers and creative individuals are those who have learned a second language. When a second language has been learned at an early age, it was found that such children displayed high levels of general cognitive development. This is according to 2 studies that have been reported on the Connecticut State Department of Education site. A critically thinking mind and a better problem solving approach are the primary characteristics that have been found in children once they’ve learned two languages.
Bettering Future Prospects
Being bilingual allows for a lot more options and open doors in later life. If you’re able to speak two languages, you can listen to new music, watch new films, study new literature and partake in other means of communication. It also allows for better exposure to new cultures, friends and ways of thinking. These factors result in a more rounded, more fully developed individual. Understanding the way in which other people think and what these people deem valuable minimizes any chances of cultural misunderstanding. Bilingualism lets children enter the world with a broader mindset, boosting their ability to make new relationships and to generally live within this highly connected planet. The advent of the internet has increased the already high importance of bilingualism, since it’s now so easy for businesses and people generally to communicate and connect from regions across the globe.
Career and Academic Advantages
When a high school student has completed a minimum of 3 years of foreign language study, they’ve been shown time and time again to achieve higher grades in college and also have a better college pass rate than those who never studied another language. This is according to a study carried out in 2001, cited in the Benefits of Second Language report. Another noticeable advantage of studying a new language is that it’s required by plenty of graduate programs. Achieving higher grades and performing better across every core subject is a typical quality of somebody that’s studied a foreign language. Whilst this isn’t a necessary result of being/training to be bilingual, it’s something that should be noted, particularly for students that struggle to perform in other subject areas.
Foreign language studies could be seen as a tool to increase the school performance of students that are lagging behind. The fact that career promotions are sometimes hinged on whether or not an employee can speak another language or not is another key reason to become bilingual. It’s a very valuable skill, and business’ recognize its importance. Living in a highly connected business world means that there’s a lot of demand for foreign language speakers, especially at a time when supply of such employees is so low. It’s not just that, either. Somebody that’s able to speak another language can usually foster an improved understanding of other cultures, meaning that they’re able to represent an organization in a better light to the global community. So it’s not just professional translation services that are on the hunt for bilinguals, there’s a huge selection of employers from different areas that are desperate to employ foreign language speakers.
Encouraging a child to learn a new language has some benefits that are a little “outside the box”. As strange as it may sound, the learning of another language has been demonstrated to delay the development of dementia. The Canadian journal “Neuropsychologia” featured a 2007 report by researchers that found the possibility of a four year delay in dementia for bilingual people. For those that aren’t bilingual, the average age of male dementia development was 71, whilst bilingual men(and those able to speak 3 or more languages) had an average dementia development age of just over 76 years. For multilingual women, the average age of dementia’s onset was 75. For uni-lingual women, the average age was just 72 years old.