What language learning is all about...

door Regina Coeli

The reason most people learn a language is because they want to communicate with people who speak that language. For some, there’s a business reason: for example, they might want to sell their product in Germany. Someone else might want to learn German in order to study there or because their in-laws are German.

But there may be even more important reasons for learning a foreign language:

Language learning is good for your brain

You may already be aware that learning new things is good for your brain. Your brain makes new connections as you learn, so by continuing to learn, you keep your brain in top condition. And learning a language has an even stronger effect—people who are bilingual have exceptionally efficient brains. Because brain connections are so strong in people who speak more than one language, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, decreases. Now that’s worth learning a language for!

Language increases your self-confidence

You’ll notice that you communicate more easily in your mother tongue than in any other language. The better you learn another language, the more confident you feel when communicating in it, which helps you to also ‘be yourself’ in that language.

Speaking a foreign language can also affect the choices you make. It might even have you going off the beaten track when you’re abroad. Your holidays will be a lot more adventurous if you’re confident that you can even ask people in small villages the way or for help.

Additional languages broaden your view of the world

You learn your own culture right alongside your native language, and as a result, you learn to express yourself in ways that might be quite different to how things are done other countries. An example of this is the well-known directness of the Dutch. When you learn another language, you learn to see the world from another perspective. In this way, you start to better understand people who speak a language different to your own, and your social relations will be the better for it.

In short, speaking more than one language has numerous advantages.

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