There are over 7000 languages spoken across the world today. The United States alone has between 350 and 430 languages spoken in its borders. Language connects us, allows us to express ideas and learn new knowledge.
How many languages do you speak?
Language Learning Opens Doors
In today’s globalized world, being bilingual (able to speak multiple languages) is one of the most valuable skills a person can have. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of job listings seeking bilingual speakers more than doubled from 240,000 to 630,000. In the United States many of these job listings cited Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish as the most in-demand.
Further, people who speak more than one language make more money than those who only speak one. In areas such as marketing, sales, and support, knowing a second language can increase your pay by fifteen percent or more.
Pay isn’t the only good reason to learn a new language however. Being able to speak multiple languages breaks down barriers between people, allowing them to communicate and learn from one another. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that around 60 million people in the U.S. speak a language other than English. That’s roughly twenty percent of the population.
Imagine for a moment the people you would be able to meet and the life experiences you’d be able to share. Learning a new language could be the first step to meeting a new friend, creating a new memory, or even discovering a new culture and way of life.
Learning a Language Benefits Your Brain
No matter your age, occupation, or life experience, keeping your brain in tip top shape is one of the most important things you can do. From memory and attention span to problem solving and listening skills, our brains are responsible for a multitude of different things. Learning a new language can help strengthen and enhance each of these aspects.
Unlike the prevailing belief that our brains stop growing and developing after a certain age, research has begun to show that brain development can occur throughout life so long as learning continues.
Our brain’s ability to form new connections and strengthen old ones is called neuroplasticity. While children certainly experience neuroplasticity more than adults do, activities such as learning a new language can increase the amount your brain forms and strengthens these connections.
In fact, learning a language is seen as one of the best ways to help your brain. While there are lots of activities you can do to help form new connections, none are as widely and constantly used as language. We use it to speak, to write, and to read (you are using it just by reading this sentence!). These opportunities increase the more languages you know.
Being bilingual has also been shown to help improve certain functions such as multitasking, memory, and critical thinking. In addition, learning a new language can help stave off natural age-related cognitive declines, meaning no matter your age, it is always worth learning a new language.
Let CEWT Help You Learn a New Language
If all these benefits have convinced you to learn a new language, Continuing Education and Workforce Training can help. This semester we have classes on Basic Chinese, as well as Beginner and Intermediate French. You can find course descriptions and registration information here.
There are a wide range of reasons for you to learn a new language. There are also many doors that will open once you do.
So what are you waiting for?