Learning a new language is an excellent way to expand your mind and learn something new. The importance of language in the way that we communicate and share ideas is obvious, but did you know there were other benefits of learning a new language? If you are considering which language to choose as your second language, consider learning English as it is one of the most useful languages to learn. Around the world, there are around 400 million native English speakers, and around 750 million who use English as a second language.
In a post-Covid world, there is likely to be a boom in travel and socializing due to previous lockdowns, so being able to communicate with others with confidence and fluency couldn’t be more important. Learning English via remote learning is a great way to connect with experts around the world, allowing you to learn English from the comfort of your own home. Connecting with others online to practice my English speaking was fundamental in how I learned English and I would recommend doing this as much as possible.
The benefits of learning English are endless and many are backed by reliable scientific studies. I truly believe that learning English will not only give you an insight into a new language and culture but will change the way you think, learn, and feel. Take a look at the list of benefits that you can gain from learning English – I reckon some of them may surprise you!
The Benefits of Learning English
#1 Learning English Keeps Your Brain Active
When learning a new language such as English, your brain changes in size, and electrical activity increases. A 2012 study found that after three months of learning a new language, four separate areas of the brain grew – the hippocampus, interior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, and superior temporal gyrus. Learning a new language could stimulate your brain, making it work harder and potentially changing its entire shape. This highlights the significant impact learning a new language can have on the brain. Still interested? Read on!
#2 Learning English Can Help Your Job Prospects and Earn You More Money
While there is no one language that every person in the world speaks, English is one of the predominant languages across the globe, with many companies relying on it for communication between global locations. Adding English to your CV will significantly increase your hiring potential as shown in a recent survey conducted by LinkedIn which found that around 90% of CEOs, CMOs, and HR Directors felt that they benefited from English-speaking employees. Like that is not a good enough reason to start learning the English language today, the demand for employees that are bi-lingual has doubled in recent years as highlighted in this article. In addition to increasing your job opportunities, this Guardian report explains that those with a second language fluency are likely to earn an extra 10 to 15% compared to their monolingual counterparts.
#3 Learning English Is Great for Travel
There are around 400 million native English speakers worldwide, with English being officially recognized as a state language in 67 different countries and countless more regions around the world. Additionally, most European countries have a high English-speaking population of between 50 and 70%. The cultural benefits are also immense, as learning a new language such as English can also help you understand a second culture. This is buttressed by Robert C Gardner and Wallace E. Lambert discuss in their amazing book where they describe how learners of a second language adopt various aspects of another cultural and linguistic group making it easier to adapt to new places. Therefore, learning English will help you travel the world and discover new cultures.
#4 Learning English Helps Improve your Focus
Do you struggle to concentrate sometimes? Perhaps it is time to pick up a new language. As well as keeping your brain active, studies have shown that bilingual people tend to have a better attention span and more focus than their monolingual counterparts. Scientists believe that this is because learning a new language requires a large amount of concentration while you become familiar with new sounds and words. A 2010 study on people who spoke more than one language found that bilingual participants were more likely to concentrate on tasks, tune out distractions and analyze their work than those who speak only one language.
#5 Learning English Increases Your Cognitive Flexibility
Being able to switch between speaking two separate languages allows for more cognitive flexibility. An article observing bilingual children found that they not only had better attention skills as we have discussed above but also they were able to switch between tasks easily. Additionally, Tracey Trautner from Michigan State University writes that “Bilingual children may have a superior ability to focus on one thing and change their response, easily indicating cognitive flexibility.”
#6 Learning English Can Increase Your Confidence
At the start of learning any language, including English, you may feel nervous about speaking it until you have developed further vocabulary and linguistic skills. While this could be frustrating, over time, learning English can increase your confidence. Part of the process of learning a language is about making mistakes and practicing in order to overcome them. This iterative process will make you confident enough to try new things and put yourself out there. In a report from the University of London, it was discovered that continued learning tends to lead to a happier lifestyle.
#7 Learning English Can Help You Think More Creatively
Another great advantage of learning English is that learning an additional language will increase your creativity levels. In the fifth benefit on our list, we pointed out the fact learning a second language can make the brain becomes more flexible thereby making it easier to switch between different tasks, promoting creativity. Those who speak an extra language are more likely to use creative solutions to problem solve.
Learning English is particularly great for being creative in the field of the arts as there are more tv shows, movies, books, and songs created in English around the world than in any other language. Additionally, the internet, a great source of information and creativity is biased towards English speakers. As it was founded in two English-speaking countries (the USA and the U.K.), it has always had more English content than that of other languages – around 55% of all the content is in English as shown in the image below. Being able to engage with this media and understand it will allow your creativity to flourish.
#8 Learning English Can Help You Build Relationships
One of the best reasons to learn a new language is to make more connections with others around the world thereby fostering new relationships. With its millions of speakers around the world, English is an example of an incredibly social language. One of the best ways to hone your skills in speaking the language is to have conversations with others. Online study groups are a great way to meet new people and practice your skills. Furthermore, talking to those already fluent in the language will give you more experience speaking it while learning more about people and their culture.
This is buttressed by research, Academics from the Universities Sains Malaysia found that students felt they could learn English with the help of Facebook, allowing them to connect with others to practice their linguistic skills and socialize with native speakers. This is especially important in a post-Covid world where online learning will be more commonplace. Combining remote learning English courses with socializing through media platforms such as Facebook will help develop your skills.
#9 Learning English Can Help You In Academia
If you are currently studying at college or university or are intending to do so in the future then learning English as a second language will benefit you greatly. A science-based article recently revealed that the number of scientific papers written in English is now outnumbering those written in the researcher’s native language. The article uses the Netherlands as an example highlighting how there one in four Dutch articles is written in English. Furthermore, English is increasingly being used as the language for teaching and delivering courses, even in countries where it is not an official language. For example, in European countries where English isn’t the language, English-taught courses have grown by around 240%. Therefore, having an understanding of the English language opens up a vast amount of knowledge that can be drawn upon during your studies. The Google trends chart below tells you everything you need to know.
#10 Learning English Can Aid Your Memory
Learning a foreign language such as English can help boost your memory. Researcher Julia Morales from Grenada University found that children who were learning a second language were more successful in recalling memories compared to their monolingual friends. Their recall was faster and their accounts were also more accurate. This is due to the fact that when your brain is learning a new language, it is forced to recall words, developing the areas of the brain used for storing and retrieving information.
#11 Your Children Will Develop Faster
And finally, if you have children, or are planning to have them in the future, learning English as a second language may benefit them too. By passing your newfound knowledge on to your child, you could change the way that they learn and increase their memory skills. A Singaporean study focused on 114 children aged 6 months – half of them having been exposed to two different languages from the moment they were born. Those babies that had listened to two languages were found to pay more attention and expected to have a higher IQ. This fantastic TED Talk aptly illustrates the incredible benefits of being a bilingual child. You will love it!
As you can see from my list above, learning English has many benefits, backed by a variety of studies. I hope that you learned something new from the information and enjoyed finding out more about why learning English can benefit and improve your life. I myself have found that not only did I become fluent in Japanese during my learning journey, but I also experienced many of the benefits listed above including increased recall, creativity and I was able to foster relationships with others while traveling. Communicating with others was vital to how I learned Japanese, and I would highly recommend connecting with English speakers to help you practice, even if it is through remote learning in this post-Covid world.
Ultimately, English is a language with global dominance – not only does it have millions of people who speak it as a first language, but it is one of the most common languages to be learned as a second language. If there is one language to start learning, English is the one. What do you think? Share your thoughts below. Are you planning to learn English? Have you already started? Let us know. We are creating resources to make that journey as easy as possible. Thinking about starting English lessons, check out our article about how you can learn English for free. If you enjoyed this article, please share it – I love to hear from as many of you as possible.