The Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

The+Benefits+of+Learning+a+Foreign+Language

David Vavrinak, Editor-in-Chief

Throughout the world, there are thousands of different languages spoken every day. Throughout our nation, there are many languages taught every day in schools. It is a common misconception that our youth is being instructed in repetitious jibberish when they learn a foreign language. A recent, renowned Duke University study claims, on the contrary, that learning a new language brings with it a multitude of benefits.

According to this study, such instruction increases activity in the more creative section of the brain, improves understanding of one’s first language, and allows for a faster “rapid-fire” of the synapses. In addition to these results, high school Spanish teacher Mrs. Badurik adds that, “being fluent in multiple languages can provide one with an edge in college, limitless job opportunities, and also the confidence to explore the world.” She also explains the influence of learning a foreign language on one’s grammatical knowledge of his/her first language, as indicated by the study: “I notice that my students really seem to get a better handle on the English language just by having to analyze a foreign language.  They realize grammatical structures in their native language that they did not notice before.” On a final note, Mrs. Anna Badurik states that, “our world is becoming much more globalized, so it is important that people are not intimidated by other cultures and are able to relate to people of other cultures.   Speaking a foreign language is one way to open that door and create change in our nation’s social and economic affairs.”

Hubbard High School French teacher Mrs. Jenna Evans also emphasizes the importance of learning a foreign language and the benefits that come with it. In fact, when asked how learning a foreign language can benefit someone, Mrs. Evans responded that, “it [knowledge of a foreign language] increases the ease of travel and interaction with those of different nationalities.” She also emphasizes the importance of starting to learn a second language early. “One should learn another language as early as possible. Studies show that secondary-language learners thrive if they are exposed to a new language prior to the age of 13.” Along with cultural benefits, she also adds how this knowledge positively affects test scores: “Students generally will excel in subjects like English when learning a secondary language. In addition, an increase in the ACT or SAT scores is likely to be seen among secondary learn language learners.” Finally, Mrs. Evans thought it was important to note that, “linguistic and cultural knowledge are becoming increasingly more sought-after in today’s job market,” and that, “exposure to another culture through its language will position you more favorably toward success in your future career.”

Throughout my research, it is evident that learning a foreign language is beneficial to all. Doing so not only increases cognitive ability, but it also allows for better communication and enhanced cultural awareness. Foreign languages are being taught to America’s future for a reason, for they have countless benefits and will lead to inevitable success.

Source: http://tip.duke.edu/node/866