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The Benefits of Learning a second language

Enjoy School World News

20 December 2022

Reported by Enjoy School, Life bloom Academy

Learning a second language or even a third or fourth is perhaps one of the biggest privileges anyone could have, it gives you an advantage, something to show off to your employer for example. It will help you in your field of work and in your traveling. What happens in your brain when you learn a second language? Matteo explains:

When we learn a new language or a new word or everything new , you create a road between two neurones:

And every time you revise and practice the roads are getting stronger:

And after months or years of practicing the road becomes a highway:

Scientists call this the “plasticity” It’s the same thing for sport, if you shoot with a basketball for the first time in a basketball hoop it would not enter but if you do it again and again it would . Why ? because the roads between the two neurons are getting stronger and for the sport you are gonna activate the muscle memory and see after practise you don’t even need to think about how to throw it. The brain controls every movement you do by activating some specific zone of the brain.

A good advantage of speaking more than one language is that you can talk to people from different countries, and know more about their culture. Or even move to another country. Just Imagine! "I think people should learn a second language for travel in the world and talk to people in a others country for example: USA: English, Italy: Italian and Spain: Spanish" writes Pier-Albain, " People should learn a second language firstly because it can help them to travel, watch movies without subtitles or even talk with people who are not of the same nationality" agrees Camille .C. For some of you that might be obvious but did you know it actually has so many more benefits than that. "It helps your brain with things that have nothing to do with languages. It can help you with multitasking, problem solving and even delay diseases like Alzheimer and dementia." explains Ines. "learning a second language has benefits for the brain like a higher density of the grey matter that contains most of your brain’s neurons and synapses, and there is more activity in certain regions when engaging a second language." continues Camille .C.

Wilfried states "Bilingual people can do better at doing multiple things at once, and unnatural things. A study has been made on this, and it appears that bilingual people did much better on the test for the study than the monolinguals. They can also concentrate better and make choices faster because the grey matter count, the thing that makes these actions, improve when switching between languages." So , if you speak a second language you may think that your brain is different from your monolingual friends. So what does it mean to"learn a second language" or be bilingual? "Language ability is typically measured by two active parts : speaking and writing and two passive parts listening and reading." writes Léa. Matteo continues "With this we can classify into three general types :compound bilingual(is when you learn both language from native speaker at home), subordinated bilingual ( Are those who will learn a second language by streaming information through their primary language ) and coordinate bilingual ( someone who consistently implements two languages , the second of which being acquired apart from the first and inside a separate framework or setting." To summarise Léa writes:

We should all learn a second language because it gives to our brain some advantages like:

- a higher density of the grey matter that contains most of our brain’s neurons and synapses,

- help to delay some onset of diseases like Alzheimer and Dementia by five years,

- increase abilities in problem-solving, switching between tasks and focusing while filtering

out irrelevant informations.

Over all knowing multiple languages, especially the ones that are very spoken across the world is very practical but it can also be fun. Spending your own time, away from school, work and obligations earning can be fun. Our students recount their experience:

"When I was younger, I didn’t like learning English, for me it was boring and without any real interest. But when I was starting to search for my future life goals, I understood that I must learn english. So I started to be serious in class, saw more movies in English and improved. I was proud of myself because I started to talk with people in english, read books and understand some people who talked in english." - Camille .C.

"I am not going to say that it was fun at the beginning but after I practiced- it was so cool to speak English . I will never regret learning English . Why ? Because with this ability ,I meet new friends that speak just English and with who you can learn and have fun . " - Matteo

"I learned Italian when I was younger and now it’s useful for me to go to Italy to see my family because I have a lot of family and if I don’t know how to speak Italian I wouldn't talk to my family" -Pier- Albain

"I started learning English in France when I was six years old. At school it was formal, but the teachers also made it a little bit fun. I think that learning a second language as a child was important.

At home, I listened to English music and I think it helped me too. I also went for some days to England and this was beneficial. For three years I have been learning Spanish and it’s going well." - Léa

"I’m writing this as a person who speaks several languages. Honestly, at first it will be kinda difficult to learn, because sometimes the words from both languages mix up, but after a while it stops. When I was learning English, at my old school, it was HORRIBLE! because there in 4 years I learnt only the basic things, like “Hello, my name is .......” and things like that. But when I arrived in 5th grade in a school in France my English went up REALLY fast. So if you choose the right method of learning, it won’t be really difficult." - Manuele

"I enjoy learning Korean at home with resources I find online, through social media, apps and websites. I also learn Spanish at school as an obligation. I do concentrate more on Spanish and I do Korean sometimes for fun. When I get better and more confident in Spanish I will probably try harder on Korean. I have heard that it’s easier to learn a new language after being fluent in multiple languages already. Being a native bilingual that should probably apply to me but actually I don’t notice any advantages yet. But don’t give up. I think having help from a teacher or someone who knows the language can help and maybe teaching someone what you learnt about that language to revise."- Ines

iI you’re a child when you learn the language, you learn it faster, have the advantages younger and train your brain faster and for a longer time than learning it in adulthood. Once you’ve got the basics of grammar and vocabulary down you're ready to start tackling more advanced material in your new language But where can you find a near endless supply of media in the language you’re learning. And not just any media, but perhaps media that can help you learn more about the speakers of the language you’re learning? It’s time to start using the news to learn a language. "Reading the news is just like any other kind of reading, and you can set the speed you want. Keep a dictionary nearby. Don't just gloss over the words you don't know, look them up. This might feel exhausting in the beginning, but as your vocabulary grows, you'll be getting through articles faster and faster" explains Emy.

Here are some more Enjoy school tips to learn a second (or third) language:

  1. "My tips to learn a second language is to learn the easiest words first " - Pier-Albain

  2. "Listen to music, read a lot and go on holiday in the country whose language you are learning." - Léa

  3. "The most interesting and fun thing is to watch series and films in the language you want to learn, don’t forget to put the subtitles in a language you already know!! Another piece of advice is to revise EACH DAY!! Take your studies seriously. For motivation, you need a goal, it can be a small goal. Don't forget that pronunciation is REALLY important, if you want to be understood. But the most important thing is to find a method that works for you, we are all different, and learn at different speeds." - Manuele

  4. "Find a goal, find a friend that speaks English, find a style of working and try speaking alone ( like at your house )" - Matteo

  5. "The tips that I can give to learn a new language is to respect the four pillars of learning, attention, active engagement, feedback and consolidation. For the attention you can take brain breaks, for the active engagement you can participate in class, for the feedback you can celebrate success and for the consolidation you can use flashcards/ mind maps/ memory sheets." - Camille .C.

  6. "Find a website you already know that publishes in multiple languages for example, Youtube, Facebook, TikTok because you can see how the voice of each publication is translated around the world." - Emy

  7. "Explaining your knowledge to someone is active engagement and that will help you remember your lessons better. Listen to how natives actually speak: their expressions, the way they shorten words and speak quickly when words have second meanings. If you know how they really speak it will really impress them. Focus on pronunciation. If your pronunciation is good but your accent is visible they will still be able to understand." - Ines

  8. "It was pretty easy to learn English, and fun sometimes ! Efficient things to learn would be to use mental cards and to work grammar, conjugation and pronunciation over learning words" - Wilfried

  9. "I've been learning English since middle school and my advice is to work a little everyday on the second language with exercises" -Faith

  10. Watch this video and learn how to learn

So, with all of this proof, I think it’s safe to say that being bilingual, even if you learn it as an adult, has many advantages, more than disadvantages, so what are you waiting for? Have fun learning a second language.

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