Your brain wants to speak a second language
More than half (up to 75%!) of the world’s population speaks at least two languages. And it just so happens that when you learn a language, your brain benefits.
The fact that so many people speak two or more languages suggests that our brains evolved to speak many languages. If this is the case, then it is probably easy to learn a language and maybe even 3 or 5 or 10 languages, right?
When asked this question, polyglots answer with a resoundingly say ‘yes’.
When BBC reporter Gala Vince asked a group of South Africans who spoke 5 languages the reply was not only ‘yes’ but “Yes, it’s normal.”
So, is it really good for your brain to learn a language?
Let’s examine the physiological and physiological benefits that bi-lingual people are getting?
Research tells us that bi- and multi-lingual individuals have better functioning brains.
- Being bilingual helps older adults by slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease on average by 4.5 years.
- When someone learns a second language it improves cognitive functionality by challenging the mind to recognize, negotiated meaning, and communicate differently. This results in higher scores on standardized tests in math, reading, and vocabulary.
- Bilingualism improves memory. Learning a language improves remembering lists, names, and directions according to a study from the University of New Brunswick.
- Those that are multilingual are better at observing their surroundings, have better focus, and are better at spotting misleading information according to a study at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.
- A University of Chicago study reported by Business Insider found that bilinguals make better decisions and have more confidence in those decisions.
Learn a language like you exercise
I think of learning a language is like exercise.
Walking long distances and running is normal for humans. It’s only in modern times and in more developed nations that walking distances and running have become uncommon.
So, if we asked people who don’t have access to mass transit and cars about walking for such long distances we would probably be told it’s normal and easy. Then we could do some research and we’d find out the physical and mental benefits of this type of exercise.
However, the out-of-shape office worker would scoff that walking 10 miles a day or that running a couple of miles is easy, and certainly not normal.
We know that the sedentary office worker can get in shape. That he or she can quickly get to the point that walking miles and running are normal, even easy. The hard part is starting and getting through the first few weeks.
But after that, we begin to see results and miraculously it becomes easier, habits form, and it becomes normal.
The same is true when you learn a language. Just like there is a formula for getting in shape, there is a language learning formula that will help you improve your language learning.
The hard part is starting and getting through the first few weeks. But after that, we begin to see results and miraculously it becomes easier, habits form, and it becomes normal.
Just do it
Don’t buy into the common language myths that keep people from learning a language. Instead, find the courage and learn a language and commit to it for 4 weeks. After the first few weeks, it will become much easier and you will see results. Stick with it and maybe learning languages will become normal for you.