As we ring in 2020, it’s the perfect time to remind yourself of those language learning goals you forgot about in 2019.
Learning a new language isn’t as scary as you might think. Put aside those bleak memories of high school French class, language learning has comes a long way since then.
As you set about creating your 2020 New Year resolutions, take a moment and rediscover why learning a new language is awesome!
Here are 11 reasons why learning a language should be your resolution for 2020.
1. Better travel memories
Travelling isn’t just about taking selfies in front of a few monuments, eating your body weight in food, then going home. It’s about experiencing the culture and the people who live it.
Start with dropping a few choices words and phrases and you’ll be amazed by the reaction you’ll get from local native speakers. Not only will you be greeted with warm smiles and invitations to afternoon tea (this happened to me in Sicily), it may even open you up to opportunities that you may never imagine possible.
2. Make new friends
Having friends and meeting new people is one of the real pleasures in life. Think how much your friendships would grow just by learning another language? Plus, who knows, that friend might even introduce you to the love of your life!
3. Gain greater confidence
Learning a foreign language is a great way to boost self-esteem and develop confidence. It can be nerve-wracking to work up the courage to speak in a foreign language, but once you start to receive positive feedback from native speakers, the easier it becomes to overcome that fear. This confidence makes you more prepared to overcome fears and doubts in other areas of your life.
4. Become Smarter
Studies have shown that speaking a foreign language actually improves the functionality of your brain! When you constantly challenge your brain to recognise, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems this actually improves your ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well.
5. Subsequent languages become easier
Once you get your around how a language works you can start to apply some of the rules across other languages and identify commonalities.
For example, starting with learning a Romance language is great for language newbies. If start with French, then jump to Italian or Spanish, you’ll see how similar the grammar and vocabulary is, making the learning process easier.
6. More job opportunities
As the world becomes more and more globalised, companies look to extend their businesses overseas and deal with international clients. Guess what? They need someone with not only the right skillset but who can speak the local lingo too!
7. Move Abroad
Language has the power to completely change your life and where you live it!
When you’re able to speak another language, it becomes instantly easier to follow your dreams or living in a foreign land. Your life actually feels like a holiday. Remember, you don’t have to be fluent to move abroad, I moved to Italy, got a job in an Italian company when I spoke lower-intermediate Italian.
8. Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Speaking more than one language has the power to ward off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The results of various studies has shown that for adults who speak two or more languages the first signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia were offset by a few years! While it may not be a cure, it certainly does buys you invaluable time.
9. No more subtitles and dubbing
Forget straining your eyes to read subtitles or sitting through terrible dubbing. So much meaning is lost when movies, books and TV shows are translated.
World famous books like The Little Prince, War and Peace, and The Alchemist were meant to be enjoyed in their original language. Even with the best translators, you would be surprised how much is lost in translation.
10. Discover a new culture
Speaking another language will help you understand the world a little bit better. As you study the words you begin to unlock the finer details on what makes a culture tick.
Since I started learning Arabic, I would never have thought how considerate and polite the language and native speakers would be. For example, the word for please is min fadlak, which literally translates to, “from your grace”, and if someone asks, ‘how are you?’ a common reply would be ‘Alhamdulillaah, I’m good’ meaning, thanks to Allah, I’m good.
11. Better Memory
When you learn a language, you’re essentially exercising the brain. This ‘exercise’ occurs when you memorise rules and vocabulary. Studies show that this repetitive action actually beings to improve your overall memory.
So, there you have it! While we all have different reasons for wanting to learn a new language, hopefully these bonus benefits will give you that needed boost to start learning your next language in 2020.
Michele from The Intrepid Guide is a travel and language blogger. She lives by the motto “The more we travel, the more we learn.” With her blog, Michele shares her passion for bringing language and travel together through with her destinations guide, language learning tools, and travel phrase cheat sheets, and more! Follow her on social media as she shares fascinating and little-known linguistic and cultural facts.