There are more benefits to learning a second language than just being able to communicate with foreigners. It is not well known that being bilingual can actually have a wide range of cognitive benefits.
It was thought in the past that children being brought up learning multiple languages, ended up being detrimental to a child’s linguistics and cognitive development. This of course was incorrect, even though studies talked of “the problem of bilingualism” and how bilingualism handicapped children. It was later discovered that the control groups weren’t even confirmed to be bilingual, it was just an assumption taken from their race.
Semantics And Phonetics
Studies carried out more recently showed that children who are bilingual have a better grasp on the semantics whereas the monolingual children were more focused on the phonetic meaning of the words.
Jobs and Other Benefits
There are of course other benefits of knowing a different language, work opportunities may open up, such as translating or interpreting, these types of jobs are highly sort after these days, especially with immigration and the public sector like the police force or hospital. It is well known that over the phone interpreters actually make a lot of money working with the police and are in high demand. Not just in England either, you may be able to travel abroad and work in the country that you are fluent, this creates much more opportunities as you have much better developed communication skills.
What’s More Beneficial?
What’s more beneficial than knowing a language? How about knowing two languages? That’s right, it can only get better the more languages you learn. It is also worth mentioning that this could be just a basic understanding in this language, unless you are looking for a profession, I don’t think it’s necessary to really master it all.
Where To Start?
If you’re looking to get started, you really have to decide what languages will be the most useful to you. It could be places you go abroad, foreign people you know or anything really. It will just help you decide on what to choose. Once you’ve chosen, there are several different routes to go down to help you on your way.
This used to be a more common practise, using tapes or audio cds to listen to translation teachers give language lessons. Usually in a repeat after me structure. Although they seem like a good idea, learning language is all about reinforcing things that you learn and it takes a ridiculous amount of discipline to take something from these audio books and applying it somewhere. You can give these a go, but I will say that they are not for everyone.
Use The Internet
There are a number of websites with cultural and language resources, Kwintessential is a good example of this, they cover all kind of topics as well as featuring different tests and other interesting examples. There are also other websites such as Memrise that features flashcard-style programs that allow you to memorize words using different memory tricks. These websites are great ways to dip your toes into the first steps of learning another language, definitely something worth checking out.
Tuition is when a tutor actually comes to your house and helps you to learn. This hands on approach is usually more efficient than the other methods because the tutor can see the way that you learn best and then play to your strengths. Tutoring can also help you to learn much faster and more pro-actively than if you were left to your own devices.