Learning new languages opens up the world. What was once a small patch of land in the backyard becomes a vast, open landscape comprising many cultures, beliefs, traditions, and educational resources.
Traveling to foreign lands becomes easier with non-native languages added to our linguistic repertoire. What many people don’t know is that it also improves communication skills when speaking your mother-tongue.
The first thing you’ll notice when learning a new language is the lack of communication continuity. Differences in grammar, verb structure, cadence, and formality rules are common in many languages.
You might also discover new vocabulary that describes concepts you’ve experienced but didn’t have a word for in your native language.
At first, these differences pose more questions than answers, but eventually, the pieces fit together. You might consider how language influences behavior on a mass scale, and it does.
Learning new languages can help you look at your native language in a new way, which enables you to develop your interpersonal skills.
This new view can also help you identify any strong or weak spots you may have when interacting with others. Learning a new language is a win-win for everyone involved, most of all, you.
Speaking other languages enhances your life in the following ways:
1. You Become a Better Listener
Active listening is something many people don’t use much when only speaking their native tongue. They grow so familiar with words and concepts that often they don’t engage with those they are communicating with fully.
Learning a new language requires active listening because the words spoken aren’t automatically familiar.
When your brain is in listening mode, it carries over to all your conversations. You’ll be better at blocking out distractions, responding eloquently to questions, and understanding topics more fluidly.
2. New Languages Exercise Your Memory
You’re introduced to tons of new words and phrases when you learn a new language.
Your memory works overtime to collect and store the information you’re feeding it. The mind uses clever tools to retain this new knowledge.
You’ll begin associating words with pictures in your mind to help you keep track of what it all means.
Memory is like a muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. You’ll notice that your recall for ideas, names, places, and experiences improve after flexing your memory with language learning.
3. Your Critical Thinking Skills Skyrocket
Before you learn a new language, you don’t know what you’re missing out on in books, films, art, and other culturally enriching forms of media.
Once your lingual adventure begins, your critical thinking skills shoot through the roof.
All of a sudden, you can interpret the context for new information in an entirely new way. With this tool in hand, you become a more engaging communicator and make better decisions based on all the information available to you.
4. You Learn to Speak Clearly and Directly
When first starting to speak in a new language, you’re only equipped to handle basic words and concepts.
Although this can feel frustrating when it’s happening, it helps you develop precision in your communication skills. You look for the most accurate words to convey your meaning.
This clarity of purpose and direct speaking style improves conversations in any language. You also come across as a competent and confident speaker who can improve personal relationships.
5. You Learn Two Languages in One
Learning a new language also improves your skills in interpreting body language and nonverbal communication.
Without a full lexicon at your disposal, you’ll become more acquainted with the meanings of gestures, hand movements, facial expressions, and silence. You’ll also learn some regularly used gestures aren’t appropriate in every culture.
Learning how to read body language is a powerful tool in today’s world. These newly gained skills prepare you for the real world. Knowing how to read nonverbal cues can do anything from helping you connect with others to expanding your horizons in an academic or professional sphere.
What about you? How do you think learning different languages could improve your communication skills? Comments are now open below. Let me know your thoughts!