Benefits of Learning a Second Language


Authored by Jackie Acosta in Language Education
Published on 11-29-2008

Whether a person comes from an English speaking country or not, learning a second language is something that most people should consider as it has many great benefits. A native English speaker might choose to learn a new language out of curiosity, while a non-English speaker might venture into learning English as a second language in order to get ahead in his career or further his business.

Regardless of what the reason is for learning a second language, the result will always give the eager learner an advantage over his other peers. Learning a new language really does open up a lot of opportunities, especially in expanding and widening one’s reach, and also helps one cope better with living in a foreign land.

There are so many benefits in learning a new language. First, it helps develop one’s cognitive skills, hence, children who learn a second language at an early age tend to be more flexible, creative, diverse, and open-minded than children who speak only one language. According to several studies, it also sharpens children’s verbal and nonverbal intelligence—bilingual children outscore monolingual children in most aptitude tests.

Other academic benefits of learning a second language include improvement in reading, writing, and mathematics. A study conducted in 1992 stated that students who studied foreign language for at least four years performed better in the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT compared to their peers who did not. Moreover, these students who have studied foreign languages for four or more years also had the same average scores with that of students who had also spent the same number of years studying mathematics. To further add to the academic benefits, these foreign language students are better at grasping linguistic concepts such as etymology and this in turn also increases their vocabulary.

As these students move on to their real world, they would find more perks to having gained a second tongue or another language. There are bound to be more opportunities for them, especially those who seek employment with big multi-national firms or those who would want to pursue a career in travel. For example, there are some companies who see that having a second language such as Chinese, French, or Spanish as an advantage, especially if the job calls for a lot of transactions to be done in these languages. Moreover, if these companies from the same country, employers will find these bilingual candidates more favorable knowing that they will be able to speak or converse with them with their mother tongue. It also gives the person the advantage to be assigned to another office in a different country as he or she already speaks the language, thus saving the company money in the long run and almost always guarantees the person a bigger salary or more space to grow within the company.

It may be very tedious to get into at first, especially for children, but encourage them to keep trying as there are many wonderful things that they can gain from learning a second language in the long run.


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