3 Surprising reasons you should learn Japanese

When we learn a new language we open ourselves up to a richer understanding of a different culture. Knowing a second language can help us form new friendships, enjoy movies without subtitles, and make our resumes stand out from the crowd. As if there weren’t enough reasons to hit the books already, recent studies have unveiled a host of other unexpected benefits to becoming bilingual. Here are three more reasons you should consider picking up a new language (like Japanese):

 

 
 1. Increase your brain power. 
Learning a new language is challenging. Our minds have to learn how to recognize new ways of conveying meaning. This act of mental gymnastics boosts our problem solving abilities which can help us in our day to day life.  Students who study foreign languages are more likely to score higher on standardized test than students who don’t speak another language. 
Those who speak more than one language are also great multi taskers. Being able to switch between two different languages has been shown to increase the likelihood of being able to switch between other tasks. A study where participants were asked to use a driving simulator while doing distracting tasks showed that people who were bilingual/multilingual made fewer errors in their driving.  

 2. Stave of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 
One study conducted in 2010 found that bilingualism delays the onset of Alzheimer’s by up to five years.  Other research supports this claim, with studies consistently finding that the mean age for monolingual adults to develop dementia is 71.4 , while the average age for adults who speak two or more languages is 75.5.  
via http://www.alamy.com/

3. Unlock your creativity. 
Often when switching between languages there are moments where you are unsure what word to use. When you forget a particular word during conversation you end up having to work out an alternative word that works instead. This flexibility is applicable to other parts of life. It teaches the importance of thinking outside of the square every now and then. 

The words we use also affect how we interpret the world. One example of this was demonstrated in a study of Japanese and English speakers where participants were asked to differentiate between different shades of blue. Japanese has two words for blue: light blue (mizuiro) and dark blue (ao). Japanese speakers were found to be better at distinguishing different shades of blue. Languages different from our own articulate concepts in their own unique way. Understanding the world in new ways can open up our creative potential. 
 

Now that you know more about what learning a language can do for you why not start learning today? There are plenty of fantastic resources available for free online such as  YouTube videos and sites like duolingo. If you are interested be sure to check them out and find something that works for you.  

Untill next time, Sayonara!

 
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Chloe Hamilton