Why You Should Learn Another Language

By Megan Morrow
Published June 7, 2018

Yo hablo español? Parlez vous français?

If the answer is “no,” “not anymore” or “what?”, it might be time to consider acquiring a second language.

If your first thought is “that ship has sailed” or “not at my age,” you might change your mind when you learn about the numerous and extensive benefits of learning a new language. From brain power to confidence to communication, becoming bilingual can be challenging, but it can also be empowering. Read on to discover more about the benefits of expanding your mother tongue.

  • Bilingualism builds brain power. If you want to enhance cognition and memory, learning a new language can support growth in memory, decision-making and problem-solving, according to recent studies. Bilingualism can stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for years.
  • Learning a new language makes you more employable. Even if you are retired or close to retirement, seniors are increasingly returning to part- or full-time work. Having a second language on your resume will open doors, especially as companies are increasingly global and multinational.
  • You will spark greater creativity. Learning a language affects more than cognition, it also influences creativity. When your brain is bilingual, it is easier to experiment with new words and ideas, helping you to arrive more easily at new solutions and switch tasks.
  • You will enjoy travels that much more. When you can speak even a few common words and phrases in another country with some fluency, you will enjoy enhanced communication and appreciation among locals, as well as easier and more enjoyable world travels. Some senior living centers offer the chance to learn a language in a new environment – spend a few weeks in Florida to learn and practice your Spanish, for instance, before traveling to Mexico or Spain.
  • You will build confidence. It takes confidence and courage to embark on a new language. As you begin to master new words, phrases and concepts, you will bolster self-confidence and remind yourself that it is never too late to learn something new. You will also connect with new people and make new friendships, something that is important as you age.

Interestingly, those who learn a second language improve their first language, in turn. As you learn grammar and tenses in a new language, you will refocus on those same building blocks in English or your other first language. And when you learn a second language, adding a third or fourth will also come with less effort.

Where in the world can I learn a new language?

Fortunately, learning languages is easier than ever. You can take courses at local community centers or colleges, download free apps, listen to CDs or podcasts in the car or on your computer, and talk with others across the world via social media. FluentU is a popular site for those interested in becoming bilingual.

If your business has offices in China, that might be the language to pursue. If you regularly travel to Italy, then Italian might be a fun romance language to acquire. It does not matter which language you choose, rather the benefit is in the trial and error, acquisition of new skills and willingness to try.

According to researchers, the easiest languages to learn are Afrikaans, French, Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian.

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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor.

The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.

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