Did you know that almost half the world knows a second language? When we meet people who want to learn German with us, they usually do it for two reasons: for business purposes or to help them communicate with friends or family. Both are really great reasons to learn another language, but did you know learning a second language can actually help you improve your english? By focusing on another language you learn more about the mechanics of language structure, grammar, nouns, and you begin to recognise these more in your native tongue.
Learning a second language offers huge benefits in your life, let’s explore these in more depth:
Your memory improves - your brain is like a muscle, and needs to be exercised regularly to function efficiently. Learning a new language helps strengthen your memory and cognitive performance. As bilinguals you can retain data more easily, and switch through tasks at speed, with studies showing bilinguals have a greater brain size, and are more exercised and quick to recall names, directions, facts, and figures. These benefits directly correlate to the effect of bilingualism on dementia, with scientists claiming that people who can speak more than one language tend to develop dementia up to five years later than monolingual people.
Brain Health increases - as mentioned above the brain muscle is worked harder when learning a new language. As the brain is focusing on a new language, it is concentrating on various aspects to help increase the cognition of the language, which spills over into other aspects of learning, observation and attention for the brain. People who study a second language tend to have a higher attention span than those who don’t, and this is particularly useful when completing other studies. With the need to switch from one language to another, the brain will find it easier to switch from one task to another, combining tasks and enabling the learner to be an excellent multitasker. Bilinguals have increased cognitive skills which helps them to be better decision makers, students, problem solvers and much more.
Increased connection in the world- having a second language offers more opportunities to connect to different cultures and experience new countries. As an Irish person speaking German, you have the opportunity to speak with 120 million other German speakers in the world, although we doubt you will get round to speaking to all of them! You become part of a new culture and country with opportunities to communicate with a wide range of people in both your personal and professional life. When travelling, a second language allows you more freedom to experience the culture, and the locals will really appreciate you trying, and will probably give you the best table in the restaurant or the best beer they have to offer.
Better academic and career prospects- we now know that learning a second language helps your brain perform at a higher level. Having a second language opens up doors to study in another country, and also is recognised as an additional achievement when studying in your native country. In a previous blog post we spoke about the German schooling system, and how university in Germany was free to international students, another benefit to those learning German right now.
When looking at career advancement, people with second languages tend to score higher in the eyes of recruiters, there are more jobs available to them in their native country and abroad. Learning German for example opens you up to jobs in Europe’s largest economy, with some of the most successful multinationals in the world. Those few hours of learning every week can change your career path and future prospects. For more on the German economy and business success please see here.
Get better at learning other languages- learning a second language activates the left side of the brain to recognise new grammar, pronunciation, dialects and more. Your brain will adapt to both languages and develop the skills necessary to understand both in unison. Once the brain has developed these skills, it will begin to perceptually recognise other languages and distinguish sounds and meanings. I have witnessed students become fluent in German, and then begin to study Dutch and learn at a much faster pace as it is their third language.
Apart from all the wonderful benefits described above, learning a second language can be fun. In our German classes we eat German food, play German games, discuss holiday traditions, and celebrate together. It is an all encompassing learning experience with great results.
Don’t forget we are opening back on August 10th for in person teaching at our school on 16 Fitzwilliam St Upper, Dublin 2. We offer both private and group classes, and to celebrate our return to class, we are offering 10% off all courses with the discount code: Welcomeback