The fact that the knowledge of foreign languages increases the salary and opens all the doors is obvious. But did you know that studying a foreign language (even Sanskrit or Klingon) will make you happier, help to take the right decisions, prolong your life?
Find out interesting information about the structure of our brain and the reasons for its “friendship” with the study of languages.
Benefits for the brain
It is known that Mark Zuckerberg, in his teens, spent quite a long time studying the Ancient Greek language. The lessons of classical languages are mainly present in a curriculum of prestigious gymnasiums. Are they applied in the life of a usual modern citizen? Of course, no. At best, students remember 10% of what they learned.
Was it sensible to spend valuable time on years of study? Certainly! Because mastering a language is one of the best training activities for the development of the brain, its ability to perceive the new things. Our brain always tries to improve the processes in which we participate most often – it optimizes them, stimulates the production of the pleasure hormones in connection with these processes, etc.
When you watch films and eat chips every day, this does not mean that your brain is idle. It simply improves the process of eating chips and watching TV shows.
If we are talking about learning a language, this activity helps to develop thinking and be flexible enough to master any system. Exactly the ability to work with several systems simultaneously allows people to discover a new product, business, technology. The thing is, most often, the innovation consists in applying the provisions of one paradigm to another area of knowledge.
Ancient languages are much more useful for the brain than French or German, because our consciousness faces a completely new system with which there are no associations in the modern world.
So, firstly, learning any language develops our ability to explore, like the most effective set of exercises stimulates the development of physical muscles. Secondly, such a training literally changes the personality and enriches our understanding of reality.
How does the knowledge of languages change our perception of the world?
If the eyes can be compared to windows for your body, then the language and words are windows for your mind. In modern psychophysiology, the perception of the world and separate individuals is based on the fact that the language is developed so much that there are enough significant concepts for describing their subtlest shades. For example, in the countries where Buddhism is widespread, there are not enough words to describe the personality and processes of consciousness.
This is a scientific fact – the language attributes the value to the objects of the surrounding world. Something becomes important to you if it has a name, and this name also causes positive emotions. For example, Eskimo languages have more than 20 words meaning snow, because in their reality, snow has a great value. If you learn these 20 words, your idea of snow will change forever.
Also, if you learn French very well, your attitude towards food will change dramatically, just because you will be able to describe it by a much larger number of words than before.
That is, learning a new language does not mean that you collect the translations of already known words. Such an approach to lessons is very difficult and will not bring the desired result. New language enriches your ability to analyze and perceive the world around, because you just start to see more things in it.
What happens to the brain that learns the language?
Training is the formation of new neural connections, synapses, and the modification of existing ones. Knowledge is a network architecture between specific neurons, and learning is a modification of this architecture.
The synapse is the junction of the neurons, the so-called “informational substance”. And every time we learn something new, a new chain appears or the old one changes. Neurotransmitters are like letters of the alphabet, and chains are a set of words that we own. A new language is literally physically born in our brain in the form of new synapses.
You will become happier
All activities related to language take place in the left hemisphere. The processes undergoing in this part of the brain are usually combined with a stimulation of positive emotions, for example, a feeling of cheerfulness or a desire to behave openly, trustfully in relation to others, as opposed to avoiding behavior accompanying activity in the right hemisphere.
Therefore, the processes of “chatting” and “talking” cause positive emotions in us, and we feel happier. When you activate the speaking centers to say something in a foreign language, you experience a physiological pleasure.
Languages help to live longer
Learning the language, making the brain work, you provoke a large number of changes in it (reсall the neural chains), so it becomes more plastic and adaptive. Moreover, such training helps to withstand many illnesses of old age. For example, in a 2010 study, experts examined the data of 200 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and found that those who possessed several languages faced symptoms 5.1 years later.
As is known, people have 2 decision-making systems: intuitive and rational. The latter is active in very rare cases. Usually, we choose the solution intuitively – based on emotions, physiological state or pre-set patterns that are stored in our brain to speed up different processes. These patterns are called cognitive distortions. They force us to make stupid decisions ignoring the real circumstances.
Numerous studies have shown that when a person thinks or formulates a situation in a foreign language, he makes more rational decisions. Why? The rationality turns off under pressure of any emotion, good or bad. We have a lot of emotional memories and context connected with our native speech, can be greatly offended by words said in a well-known language. Foreign phrases do not have such a strong impact on the psyche.
So, when you formulate a life situation or a professional problem in a foreign language and try to find a solution, it turns out to be more rational, and not emotional or cognitively distorted.
If you decide to learn several languages at once, probably, it will be difficult to cope with the intensive inflow of homework on time. However, there are no impossible tasks. You can always seek help from a specialized company (for example, https://pro-papers.com/essay-paper-writing-service) and be served by professional authors. Good luck!