In a context of increased globalization, be it trade, political or cultural interactions, mastery of one or more languages is a stepping stone to your career. Keep in mind that it’s never too late to learn a new language or improve your level in a language you already know.
There is no such thing as a perfect age for learning a language because at different stages of life people count with different tools for learning. With motivation, whether for work or personal reasons, learning a new language is always possible.
You can even plan to stay for a few months and get your skills to a new level, e.g. going to a Spanish school in Barcelona. If you want more information, click here.
Improve your work skills
The qualities involved in learning a language are often as important as the language itself. Being capable of speak one or more shows adaptability and open-mindedness.
By mastering the language of another country, you also learn about its customs and culture. Talking Mandarin, for example, could help you better understand the culture of your new Chinese customers.
Facilities to multitask at the same time
By switching frequently from one language to another, you are obliged to pay attention to what surrounds you in order to adapt quickly to changes in their environment.
Your brain develops an ability that makes you able to perform multiple tasks at the same time compared to monolingual people of the same age.
Multilingual people have a better understanding of the concept of language and can, therefore, more easily acquire a new language during childhood or adulthood.
Already used to switching from one language to another, you will be able to talk about others while maintaining this ability to “switch” between languages.
Languages keep your brain fit
Learning languages is good for the brain! Multilingual people have greater malleability and cognitive flexibility than monolinguals.
The knowledge of a second language would thus make it possible to develop a verbal intelligence, a conceptual formation, global reasoning and to stimulate the discovery of rules underlying the solution of problems.
In other words, learning a new language is a cerebral gymnastics that can only improve your intellectual faculties, your creativity or even your self-confidence, whatever your professional ambitions. But how does this organ behave when we use a foreign language?
According to recent research, brain synchronization would not be the same depending on the language used. Conducted in the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL), this study is the first to see a different connection of brains according to the language spoken.
Results obtained thanks to brain waves
In 2017, the research team has already studied the phenomenon of brain synchronization on volunteers speaking the same language. For this new study, they recruited 60 people, who did not know each other and who were grouped in pairs.
Separated by a screen, they held a conversation already written for them, which alternated between mother tongue and a foreign language. During all these exchanges, the scientists realized electroencephalograms to study the cerebral activity.
When both people spoke their native language, their brainwaves aligned in a certain way, but this synchronization differed when they used a foreign language.
A way to better understand others
“The brains of two people speaking a foreign language establish a different neural link (…) to understand their interlocutor,” details Alejandro Perez, one of the authors of this research.
The exact causes of this phenomenon remain mysterious, but for researchers, this would probably be related to attention strategies. These are tools that allow two people to understand each other and communicate.
When speaking our native language, our attention is focused on the sentences and their overall meaning. Conversely, exchanging in a foreign language shifts our focus to sounds and words. Mastering another language would stimulate the brain by mobilizing different processes.
In 2014, researchers found that people who could speak several languages had better cognitive abilities than others. These benefits are seen both in bilingual people since childhood and in those who have learned a second language as adults.