Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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College of Arts and Sciences
Learning a Language
Why Learn a Foreign Language?
There are many reasons for learning a foreign language. Some are quite obvious and you have probably heard of them already.
Communicating with other people in their language and through their culture (and feeling the euphoria of doing so). There is nothing so amazing as to be able to interact effectively with people from a language and culture other than our own. Not only do we get a great feeling of satisfaction with our achievement but we then become automatically included in their conversations and activities. Of course, this is great at the personal level but it is also great when doing business or helping others or, for that matter, being helped by others. It is a wonderful way of forging friendships in a world where friendship is becoming increasingly important for the survival of all.
You may have known about these advantages already, but did you know that the study of a foreign-language has many other benefits, some of which are hidden but which, nevertheless, are real and extremely valuable? What this means is that as you are learning another language, you are also improving your chances of enjoying a much better life. The following list of advantages is based on serious research findings which include:
Enhanced Academic Achievement
- language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized test measures
- language learning is beneficial to both monolingual English and English language learners in bilingual and two-way immersion programs
- language learning is beneficial in the development of students' reading abilities
- there is a correlation between language learning and students ability to hypothesize in science
- there is a correlation between young children second language development and the development of print awareness
- heritage learners who use their language skills to interpret and translate for family members experience higher academic performances and greater self efficacy
- there is a correlation between language study in higher scores on the SAT and ACT tests
- there is evidence that early language learning improves cognitive abilities
- there is evidence that bilingualism correlates with increased cognitive development and abilities
- there is a correlation between bilingualism and the offset of age-related cognitive losses (Alzheimer's disease) - so studying another language will help you lead a longer and healthier life
- there is a correlation between bilingualism and memory skills
- there is a correlation between bilingualism and problem-solving ability
- There is a correlation between bilingualism and improved verbal and spatial abilities
Language learning also seems to affect attitudes and beliefs about language learning another cultures. For example research suggests that language learners develop a more positive attitude toward the target language and/or the speakers of that language. This helps significantly in creating better relations between human beings.
For details, please consult http://actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4524