Learning a foreign language has a plethora of benefits associated with it. On a practical level, you never know the kinds of opportunities that will open when you’re capable of speaking another language. It’s been proven that bilingual employees earn, on average, about 20% more than their monolingual employee counterparts.
On a more human level, you’re introduced to new cultures, ideas, perspectives, and people in general. For example, most homeschool Spanish curriculum for elementary school children devote time to learning different cultural practices and make use of Spanish story books so kids can read exactly the same things they do.
According to a piece by the health, scientific trends, and medical information site MedicalDaily.com, learning a new language can actually affect the way your brain works too. Most people recognize that early involvement, like starting an elementary or even preschool Spanish curriculum, is the best chance for success.
The earlier you introduce your child to a foreign language the better; it seems that before the age of 10 is ideal, or even before the age of 5, if possible. Between ages 8 and 12, your child will lose the ability to hear and reproduce new sounds as they did when they were younger, making foreign language acquisition not impossible, but more difficult. However, that shouldn’t scare you away if you weren’t started on a Spanish curriculum early on.
“When we learn a language, we create new neural pathways in our brain, which can lead to noticeable changes,” Dana Dovey writes. “A 2012 Swiss study observed that learning a foreign language later in life is associated with thickening of the cerebral cortex ? a layer of neurons specifically responsible for memory, thought, consciousness and, of course, language. This increased thickness can lead to better memory and sharper thinking later in life.”
Another aspect the piece talks about is the idea and theory known as linguistic relativity. When you learn a foreign language you also change the way your brain sees the world in many ways. Color perception is one example given.
In the english language we have many words to describe specific colors, but the Himba tribe of Namibia in Southern Africa for example has only five words to describe every color.
Learning a new language can be a fun and enriching experience that will not only make you smarter, but also increase the chances of being able to make personal, human connections with people you might otherwise not even be able to communicate with.
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