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What Happens to Our Brain When We Learn A New Language

Learning a new language is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s also very good for your brain! Surely, it changes your brain for the better. Lucky for you, if you’re interested in learning a new language, multiple platforms are offering all sorts of languages, whether French or Korean classes for beginners. Here are some ways that learning a new language can be good for your brain.

Top 4 Ways Your Brain Benefits From Learning A New Language

Learning a new language gives you more opportunities in life and changes your brain, and makes you smarter in many ways. Here are four exciting ways you could benefit from becoming bi- or multilingual.

1. Combines Two Kinds of Thinking

Once you’ve learned the basics of a new language, you begin to move beyond rote memorization and start thinking about this new language. To do so, your brain has to combine two very different types of thinking: 

  • Analytical
  • Creative

Analytical thinking allows you to break things down into smaller pieces and find solutions for each part. For example, when someone asks for directions to get somewhere in English, it can be helpful if you know what the word “where” means (it means “where is this place?”). 

This is an example of analytical thinking because once you understand that word “where” refers to a location. From there, everything should fall in place (such as using words like north or south), helping boost your decision-making skills.

2. Lightens the Emotional Centers of the Brain

Language seems intimately tied to emotion, memory, and identity. When you learn a new language, you’re activating brain networks that are also used in other contexts:

  • When you enjoy an activity
  • When you recall an experience
  • When your sense of self changes

This makes sense; after all, you can’t express your feelings if you don’t know the words for them! The brain’s region associated with learning languages includes those responsible for:

  • Memory (the hippocampus)
  • Decision-making (the prefrontal cortex)
  • Processing emotion (the amygdala and hippocampus)
  • Social interaction (a combination of areas in both hemispheres)

3. Strengthens the Working Memory

Everyone knows that the more you use a skill, the better you become at it. But when it comes to working memory, it’s important to understandwhy this is true.There are a few reasons why your working memory may be stronger after learning a new language:

Your brain has been challenged by trying to remember all those new words and grammar rules. This makes you more likely to think of words in your native language when solving problems or making decisions. 

As far as learning new things goes, languages aren’t just about memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules; they also require understanding how those rules work together in context. This thinking helps improve problem-solving skills, which can help boost your overall intelligence level! 

4. Keeps you Sharper as you Age

Learning a foreign language isn’t just about feeling more cultured and worldly. It also helps improve cognitive abilities and keeps the brain sharper as you age.

In one study, bilingual people were better at multitasking than monolinguals. They also had similar levels of brain activity as younger participants when they engaged in tasks requiring focus. Bilinguals tend to have a larger hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for memory formation. This may help explain why they can stay sharp later in life. 

Additionally, bilingualism may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. That’s because it trains your brain to develop extra neural pathways (or “cognitive reserve”). These can be used if damaged neurons prevent us from accessing information normally stored within them.

Open Up Your Mind With A New Language

The fact is, learning a new language isn’t just good for your brain. It’s also good for your career. By learning a second language, you are enlarging your horizons and increasing your chances of being hired by companies in various parts of the world that are global and multilingual. 

And even if English isn’t your native tongue (or even if it is!), there are still plenty of reasons to learn another language – including increased empathy and improved creativity!


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