Lesson Transcript

Hey everyone, welcome to the Monthly Review! The monthly show on language learning, where you discover new learning strategies, motivational tips, study tools, and resources.
By the way, all the lessons and bonuses you’re about to see can be downloaded for free on our website.
So, click the link in the description right now to sign up for your free lifetime account.
Okay, today’s topic is:
The 20 Benefits of Learning a Language
So, what are the actual benefits to learning a language? We’ve searched online and collected 20 ideas. And today, you’re going to find out… which are true, and which are... debatable.
But first, listen up! Here are this month’s new lessons and resources.
First — The Talking with Friends Cheat Sheet
If you want to be able to speak casually with friends, then you’ll love this new cheat sheet. You’ll master everyday expressions, idioms, and slang for casual conversations.
If you want to be able to talk about your day fluently, then you’ll want the next new resource...
Second — The “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners” eBook
This bonus eBook will teach you over 400 words and phrases related to daily activities like waking up, making breakfast, going to work or school... and much more.
Third — How to Talk About YouTube in Your Target Language
With this 1-minute lesson, you’ll learn the most common words and phrases like... “like, comment and subscribe...” in your target language.
Fourth — How to Talk About Your Phone Plan in Your Target Language
If you’re traveling and need to get a phone, then this 1-minute vocab lesson is for you.
Fifth — Top 20 Words for Positive Emotions
If you want to talk about your feelings, then this next lesson. It'll teach you 20 positive emotions in just a few minutes.
To get your free resources, click the link in the description below right now. They’re yours to keep forever. Ok, let’s jump into today’s topic:
The 20 Benefits of Learning a Language
So, before we jump in, we should clarify that for this video we've collected 20 ideas about the benefits of learning a language. We'll share about whether we think these benefits are real or not and hopefully give you some inspiration along the way. If you have your own thoughts or have found a unique benefit, leave a comment. Let’s get a discussion going!
Now, let’s jump in.
Number 1: It gives you access to more job opportunities.
This is undoubtedly a big benefit to many people. The more proficient you are in a language, the better. But even knowing just a little bit of language and culture gives you things to talk about and reasons to approach native speakers. This can lead to improvement in your networking skills, which can lead to job opportunities.
And if you’re already bilingual, then you already have access to many more opportunities.
Number 2: It boosts brain power.
You're actually using your brain while learning another language. For example, spending an hour a day studying instead of watching TV means you're learning new things and gaining more perspective on the world around you.
Number 3: It allows you to travel more easily.
This is definitely true. One of the biggest rewards of studying a language is traveling to a place where it’s spoken. And your experience can be drastically different when you speak, or try to speak, to native speakers in their language. People are happy that you’re learning their language.
It also gives you something to aim for. If you study Italian, you'll have a great excuse to go to Italy.
Number 4: It Improves your first language.
We agree with this to an extent. When learning a new language, it's critical to have an understanding of the grammar of your own language to make progress.
You have to understand how grammar works in the first place - what infinitives, conditionals, and modal verbs are - before you can understand it in your target language.
So, yes, learning a second language can improve your understanding of your native language.
Number 5: It improves your understanding of the world.
For example, people learning Japanese sometimes mention they feel more polite when speaking in Japanese. And native Japanese speakers sometimes express that they can be more direct in English.
By thinking and speaking in a different language, people consider different ways of communicating. This can change your perspective, and improve your understanding of the way other people experience the world.
Number 6: You get to experience new cultures.
If you learn a new language, you'll get opportunities to explore… you can check out new movies, music, and restaurants, and find more places to visit.
Number 7: Learning is an achievement in itself.
Personal growth is one of the biggest reasons people learn a language. We actually did a survey a few months ago for our language program members. Many people listed “personal goal” as their main reason for studying. We all have goals and dreams. It feels good to achieve them.
Number 8: It improves your memory.
We feel that this is inconclusive. While some studies have shown that continuing to study and expand the mind over the course of your lifetime can reduce the chances of memory loss in old age, we can’t say that your memory will improve by studying a language. It probably won't hurt, but it might not help.
Number 9: It Improves your ability to multitask.
We don't completely agree with this. Multitasking in general might not be such a good idea. When you are doing multiple things at once you are not giving your full attention to any one thing. And if you have ever studied language before you know that it takes focus over an extended period of time to improve. While you may gain the ability to switch quickly between your new language and your native language, for example, we can't say that learning a language will improve your multitasking skills.
Number 10: It sharpens the mind. For example, bilingual people are better critical thinkers.
It's difficult to say with certainty whether or not this is true. If you speak another language fluently, you might think more critically, because you're aware of some of the limitations of certain languages.
In a sense, it might help you to be more logical, because you may be less swayed by emotional language, especially when you're beginning, and need to take time to interpret words and work to understand them. But again, this differs from person to person.
Number 11: It improves your decision making skills.
Again, this could be true for some people, but it’s hard to measure precisely. When you're studying a language, you're working towards a goal. If you're very invested in it, you might spend hours a day studying, and thus making progress. This process of setting a goal and working toward it over time is a good skill to learn, and there are undoubtedly benefits of applying this idea to other areas of your life. But we can't say that an ability to make good life decisions comes directly from learning a language. Perhaps it could contribute to slightly more adventurous decision making. Let us know if you have any thoughts about this one.
Number 12: It improves discipline overall.
Yes, generally we agree here. The more you learn how to learn, the more disciplined you become, and the more you improve in other areas, like in education, in diet and fitness related efforts, and in your career.
Number 13: Your networking skills improve.
We agree with this one. We talked a little bit about networking in the first point. Knowing another language gives you the ability to talk with more people. You can use this to build new relationships and create a wider network.
Number 14: Your brain gets bigger.
Studies suggest that continuing to learn new information increases grey matter in the brain, which is associated with memory. While we can't say for sure if language learning specifically will increase grey matter, unless we get some before and after brain scans from learners, building in-depth knowledge seems to be associated with better brain health overall. If there are any neuroscientists watching, please feel free to share your expertise.
Number 15: It stalls Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Studies show that for bilingual people, symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimers begin at age 75 on average. For monolingual people, symptoms begin at about 71. Continued learning and development slows the deterioration of brain function, and helps keep the mind sharp for longer.
Number 16: You get to make new connections.
This is absolutely true. Knowing another language will allow you to create new business or personal connections. You don't need to rely on someone else to translate or interpret for you, and you have the freedom to communicate in a way that's suited to you.
Number 17: It boosts your creativity.
We can’t be sure that language learning will directly boost your creativity, because creativity is related to many different things. Learning another language can give you access to a lot of new media, books, movies, TV shows, music, art, and so-on, and that can certainly inspire you. In that sense, language learning can indirectly help you to be more creative.
Number 18: It boosts confidence.
This one really depends on the person. When you're starting out, you might not have a lot of confidence, and you might be afraid to make mistakes. But as you gain proficiency, you'll likely gain confidence too. If you reach conversational level proficiency, you can do things, like travel in the country where the language is spoken, and you don't have to worry about miscommunications, which can give you confidence. So, at a certain point, yes, language learning can be an indirect way to boost your confidence.
Number 19: You get to connect with your family or ancestry.
We strongly agree with this one. A good portion of our language program users are learning because they have relatives that speak a specific language. Learning that language allows them to connect with their family members better. Some people are also interested in learning more about their ancestry, and want to learn the language their family spoke in order to reconnect with their roots.
Lastly, number 20: It connects you to people, places, and things you care about.
Learning a new language allows you to make new connections. You gain the ability to make new friends, create close relationships, and access things you're interested in learning more about. And the more languages you speak, the more opportunities you have. Being able to communicate in another language can open lots of doors that would otherwise remain closed.
So, thank you for watching this episode of Monthly Review.
Next time, our topic will be:
Are You Improving? How to Assess Your Language Skills
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See you next time! Bye!