A few years ago, a friend of mine showed me an article in the New York Times journal called, "Why Bilinguals are Smarter." The article demonstrated humorously the current necessity of knowing a second language.
Some advantages for those who learn a new language (meaning the ability to read, write, and hold a conversation in the target language) include:
Intelligence will increase as the brain undergoes its training, recognizing and manipulating the meanings of certain things and communicates them in various, new ways.
Whether these abilities are professional, cultural or personal, learning another language opens up vision and understanding, beyond what may be obtained through other means of study and knowledge.
Prevention of Alzheimer's and dementia in old age
Studies have shown that people who only know one language are more likely to have these problems earlier than bilingual people are.
Educators compare the brain to a muscle. It is strengthened as it is exercised. The study of languages has a strong influence in the augmenting of memory capacity.
A study at the University of Chicago found that bilinguals are faster at perceiving their surroundings, making decisions and checking for errors than their peers.
There are at least 20 reasons why a person should learn a second language:
1. Immigration to another country
2. Communicating with family and friends of another nationality.
3. International travel.
4. Personal or professional relationships with foreigners.
5. Professional growth.
6. Studying at international universities or studies.
7. Increasing knowledge.
8. Secret communication.
9. Studying family history or ancestors that immigrated to your country.
10. Understanding diverse cultures.
11. Religion and understanding of it.
12. Appreciation of international cuisine.
13. Interest in linguistics.
14. Learning music in other languages and their meanings.
15. Understanding and appreciating your own language and culture.
16. Healthy maintenance of your mind.
17. Experiencing great love.
18. Meeting with a good friend.
19. Working as a translator or an interpreter.
20. Feeling part of a community.
There are so many ways to learn a new language, whether it is English, Spanish or any other language. There are schools with basic and advanced classes. There are even special classes for those who are travelling or require special, VIP treatment. Some methods of language learning may include:
· Private schools or teachers have diverse courses based on the necessity and interest of the student. There are classes available for every price range. Many major countries have schools in larger cities where the local language is taught to immigrants as well.
· Conversational websites are great places to learn from and meet new people from various countries who share common interests. Some examples include: Learnalanguage.com Livemocha.com or Babbel.com
· DVD or CD courses for at home study allow you to hear and repeat the words and train their pronunciations. To find one, just go to the "language" section of any book store or just search the Internet.
· Become an exchange student spending at least one year in another country that speaks the target language. This can be done through agencies or services like Student Travel Bureau, with offices in various capitols around the world.
· Watch foreign movies without subtitles to train your ears.
· Listen to music from your favorite bands, then write, translate, and study the lyrics.
In the movie Pink Panther, inspector Clouseau - portrayed by Steve Martin, had trouble learning English and suffered for it in the airport. You can laugh, but this does actually happen all the time. Even though you may learn another language, you will often not be understood because of your thick accent. The earlier you start learning other languages, the lighter your accent will be. This is a great benefit, especially for children.
When you find yourself in a situation like this, laugh about it. Study more, be humble, and help others to understand you. Increase your vocabulary in order to increase your ability to express yourself. These days, speaking another language may not be as important as it may be in the future. It may even be essential to survival.
In the end, stop procrastinating and follow the tips above. You can find many free options as you start out learning another language. Take advantage of the opportunities and increase your intelligence.