Why learn a second language? Are there any benefits?

By Inmaculada González (Inmaidiomas)

1.- More jobs opportunities: It is more than clear that we live in a very competitive society where the best people can opt for the best jobs. Although there are a few good jobs, but only for those who are excellent. Having language skills give you more chances to get better jobs, almost every company is aware of the importance and the benefits of knowing a foreign language. My point of view is really clear and practical, why are you going to express a message in one language if you have many languages to express the same? Don’t we want to be an asset for our company? Don’t we want to communicate internationally to achieve better sales and more profit for our company? Languages matter and they can bring a very positive outcome to every company.

2.- More linguistic skills: There are scientists, there are doctors, there are mathematicians, there are philosophers and there are linguists. Linguistic skills matter and they are very important in every situation. Learners of foreign languages need to develop linguistic skills, this is not easy peasy, but dedication can do a lot for us. Foreign language acquisition depends on the language being learned, the innate ability for languages and motivation. The two first conditions are more or less fixed, but it is the last one that can bring us a lot of happiness. Motivation is key to achieve a great level of a second language. Students who are motivated in learning foreign languages achieve better results that those who don’t have any motivation. So, we need to find motivation for languages, this motivation can vary depending on the needs and abilities of every student.

3.- Love for words: Languages can be your hobby or passion. It is a really enjoyable experience to learn a foreign language because of the outcomes of this study. We read books in different languages, we watch films in O.V. or with subtitles or we write in a second language. All these activities show love for learning a second language and it is the process and the product that we love. Both activities are related, like when a translator is translating and when the translation is done. I believe every good translator love both parts. This is why we learn a foreign language, it is our need and our pleasure to be reading in a foreign language.

4.- More life experiences: I couldn’t believe if 7 years ago somebody told me what I was going to experience while studying my Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting, after, and now teaching languages. I have to admit that all these experiences have made me really happy and they have taught me a lot. I have learned a beautiful lesson from all of this: follow your dreams and don’t give up ever. The acquisition of a foreign language opens your horizons and bring you many valuable experiences: travelling to another country, making a phone call in a foreign language, working in another country… you get to know the culture of that country and the customs of their people. The acquisition of a foreign language enables a linguistic and cultural immersion, this feeling is great and make you feel richer. All these experiences are really valuable and they help you to improve as a linguist and as a person too.

5.- Linguists, teachers and translators to be: There is an excitement about working with languages. It is great to be able to speak, talk, write and hear in another language. I think that every person who works with languages must feel happy about their decisions they took and why they are doing something like that. It is important to keep this feeling alive, wanting to improve all the time and study about languages. There is something magic about this.

6.- Improvement of your mother tongue: Learning a foreign language draws your focus to the language itself: grammar. It is really important to know the terminology of the target language but it is important to know the terminology in your mother tongue as well. There is always a process of reflecting and comparing at least two languages while you are studying a foreign language. You want to know how to say X in the TL but you want to know how to say it in your own language too. This important awareness makes you improve your mother tongue at the same time that you are improving your second language.

7.- More multitasking skills: People who speak different languages are skilled at switching between different systems of speech, writing and grammar. Besides, every good language learner master four skills at different levels: writing, speaking, listening and reading. If a person speaks three languages that mean 12 different skills in 3 languages, that can be called “multitasking”. This skill is really beneficial. «According to a study from the Pennsylvania State University, this “juggling” skill makes them good multitaskers, because they can easily switch between different structures.»

8.- You stay away from dementia and Alzheimer: According to the Telegragh.co.uk, «several studies have been conducted on this topic, and the results are consistent. For monolingual adults, the mean age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4. For adults who speak two or more languages, the mean age for those first signs is 75.5. Studies considered factors such as education level, income level, gender, and physical health, but the results were consistent.» This clearly tells us about the importance and the beneficial effects of studying a foreign language, it keeps mental illnesses away. Besides, learning a language requires training of your brain, so it strengthens this muscle. Learning a foreign language requires memorization of lists of vocabulary and rules of grammar, so it implies a good workout for your brain and this keeps it healthy.

9.- More decision-making skills: According to a study from the University of Chicago, «even when people fully comprehend the meaning of taboo words, reprimands, expressions of love, and advertising slogans, they react to them less emotionally in a foreign language. This reduction in emotional response might allow people to rely more on analytic processes when they make decisions.»

10.- More empathy with the world: People who speak more than one language often are more perceptive and sensitive to the world around them. Besides, they develop an emotional intelligence that enables them to understand and manage emotions in a positive way, communicate effectively, empathize with others and overcome challenges better. We know that there are different points of views and opinions, we respect them and we try to learn from others.

 

If you use information from this article, please mention us:
El blog de mis idiomas. Why learn a second language? Are there any benefits? Retrieved on the (date), from:
https://elblogdemisidiomas.wordpress.com/

 

Bibliography:

Keysar, B., Hayakawa, S. L., & An, S. G. (2012). The Foreign-Language Effect: Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases. Psychological Science, 23(6), 661–668. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611432178

Scoolook. Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism. Retrieved on 1st July 2017, from:
https://www.scoolook.com/blog/why-learn-a-foreign-language-benefits-of-bilingualism#

The Telegraph. Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism. Retrieved on 1st July 2017, from:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10126883/Why-learn-a-foreign-language-Benefits-of-bilingualism.html

¿Nativo o no nativo?, esa es la cuestión

Hola queridos lectores,

 

Ver las imágenes de origen

espero que os vaya muy bien con vuestro aprendizaje de idiomas, yo he estado muy ocupada y por eso, no he podido escribiros antes.

Hoy arrancamos con la pregunta del título: ¿Nativo o no nativo? Esta pregunta es muy importante ya que muchos de nosotros no la hemos hecho alguna vez. Me refiero a la idea de que si es mejor tener un profesor nativo que enseñe su idioma nativo o es mejor un profesor que domine la lengua extranjera y la enseñe. Buenos, me imagino que vuestras respuestas serán varias y seguro que muy interesantes todas.

Tengo que confesar que mi opinión ha ido cambiado con el transcurrir del tiempo, hasta llegar a la opinión que tengo ahora, siendo esta la siguiente:

Nativos y no nativos tienen ambos su lugar para enseñar un idioma extranjero, aunque el único requisito que les pediría es estar bien formados. Es decir, tener un  gran conocimiento de la lengua y tener conocimiento y estrategias para enseñarla. Creo que lo último es, en cierta medida, más importante que la primera. Pues bien, una persona puede tener un conocimiento muy extenso sobre una materia, pero aún así desconoce estrategias para transmitir esos conocimientos a sus estudiantes. En este caso, sería necesario que la persona se formase mediante estudios oficiales que le permitiera adquirir las estrategias suficientes para enseñar.

Hoy en día, creo que existe mucho debate en torno a esta cuestión, sí es cierto que la respuesta puede tener muchos matices.

¿Qué pensáis vosotros?, ¿habéis pasado por la situación de tener un profesor nativo y uno no nativo?, ¿qué habéis pensado? ,o ¿eres profesor de idiomas nativo o no nativo?

Me encantaría saber lo que pensáis.

Gracias,

un saludo.