Here are some of the multiple benefits of speaking and learning another language:
1) Learning a foreign language boosts brain power.
A foreign language is a whole new system with distinct rules, etymology, and meaning, which are just a few of the complexities of a language. Learning a new one puts the brain to task by recognizing this new language structure. As the brain works out meaning and makes full use of this new arsenal to express ideas, it sharpens skills on reading, negotiating, and problem-solving.
2) A personís ability to multi-task is developed.
Multi-tasking is stressful to those who are not skilled at it. People who are multilingual are proficient at slipping from one tongue to another, one language system to another totally different language mechanics. This is a very distracting and demanding work, not only for the tongue and language faculties, but especially for the brain. People who have developed this are highly proficient multi-taskers and commit very minimal error when juggling various activities.
3) The onset of dementia and Alzheimerís is stalled.
With other factors held constant, several researches suggested that multilingual adults experienced the onset of Alzheimerís and dementia at a later age of 75 compared to monolingual adults who had the first signs at age 71. The studies were conducted with other variables such as gender, overall health, educational level, and economic status, but there were no significant results that contributed to the mentioned diseases as significantly as the number of languages spoken.
4) Memory is improved.
The more the brain is used, the better its functions work. Learning a new language structure entails familiarizing with vocabulary and rules, and applying these memorized information into communication. This strengthens memory because the brain has built its ability to associate information with mnemonics and retains information better. Hence multilingual people have brains that are more exercised and quick to recall names, directions, shopping lists.
5) The mind becomes keener.
A study conducted in Spain showed that polyglots, or multilingual people, have alert and keen minds. They easily spot anything that is irrelevant or deceptive. The study was conducted comparing multilingual and monolingual subjects; and the former notably had the edge. The discipline that they developed in studying an unknown subject has molded them to become more perceptive. Thus, they learn to be critical-thinkers.
6) Polyglots are seen to display improved decision-making ability.
The decision-making ability becomes an easier process for multilingual people. Aside from the rules and vocabulary that go with learning a foreign language, there are nuances and vernacular expressions that a student of language frequently judges for appropriateness and hidden meanings. Decision-making becomes more prudent and discriminating.
7) The first language is improved.
A student of foreign language is exposed to a whole new language structure and makes him more conscious of vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, idioms, sentence construction, comprehension and conversing. Learning this new mechanics is usually done juxtaposed with English, or the first language. Hence, students become more aware of English and develop a good ear for listening to the subtle gradations of each language. The first language is usually not as thoroughly studied, for the simple reason that itís a given. But with the new language on the other side, a student finds it important to look at English with more interest.