Benefits of Learning Languages

Subject: Linguistics
Pages: 4
Words: 1121
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College


Many people nowadays find themselves interested in learning foreign languages. The popularity of this activity can be partly explained by modern tendencies of globalization and the increasing demand for communication in business and everyday life. Although there are individuals who find learning foreign languages unnecessary and excessive, it is difficult to deny the advantages of being able to speak to people from different countries. While the process of learning languages is prolonged and challenging, and special translating devices can substitute the need for being a polyglot in the nearest future, the ability to speak foreign languages remains important. The most significant benefit of knowing foreign languages is the improvement of cognitive health and intellectual capabilities. In addition, it provides the ability to travel more and to communicate with people from other countries easier, the possibility to become familiar with various cultures, and usefulness at work.

Reasons to Start Learning Languages

Although being conversant with foreign languages has always been valuable and beneficial, it has never been as popular and accessible for people as it currently is. The popularity of foreign languages can be explained by various reasons. The most important among them are the simplification of traveling, the need for establishing contacts with people from different countries, and the development of globalization tendencies in economics, business, and culture. All these causes demonstrate why studying foreign languages remains beneficial and in demand.

Learning Languages is Good for Health

It is believed that learning foreign languages can improve cognitive health and minimize the risks of dementia and other diseases. In this aspect, language courses can be regarded as effective training for memory and intelligence, which can help to maintain healthy brain abilities. According to the research on the impact of bilingualism on brain activity led by Calabria et al. (2020), “speaking two languages may delay the cognitive symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment” (p. 32). This proves that those who know more than one language are less likely to have problems with memory and thinking skills, which makes learning languages good for human health.

Learning Languages Improves Intellectual Capabilities

Studying languages is not only a good method of preventing cognitive diseases, but it is also a good training of intellectual capabilities. Such skills as creativity, flexibility, and fluency are thought to be correlated with learning foreign languages (Woll &Wei, 2019). A significant improvement of these skills can be caused by cognitive practices that accompany the process of education. Besides, an introduction to the new culture is an effective way to broaden students’ horizons and to develop originality. Learning a foreign language activates thinking processes and patterns that train our brains and improve our intellectual capabilities.

Languages Help to Communicate

It is widely known that language is the principal “instrument” for human communication. It makes talking to people easier and faster but also restricts communication because people can speak only to those who share their language. Learning languages can assist in breaking these borders, as it makes contact between people of different countries, nations, and languages possible. Knowing foreign languages allows people to come out of the “borderline” of their native language and to communicate with more people.

Languages Make Traveling Easier

Moreover, knowing languages has become essential in the present day because it makes traveling easier and safer. In the modern era, when business and leisure traveling has become very popular, it is important to be able to communicate all over the world. Knowing the language of a country makes residence there comfortable and enjoyable, and being able to talk to citizens is crucial to surviving there. Although English is regarded as the language of international communication, it does not guarantee that all people all over the world know it well enough to describe the way to the airport, for example. That is why a person who knows several foreign languages is more likely to survive than those who speak only their native language.

Languages Allow One to Become Familiar with Different Cultures

Language is not only a means of communication; it is also a “warehouse” that preserves the culture and traditions of its native speakers. Although one can do without decrypting Egyptian hieroglyphs seen in the museum, limit oneself to listening to Scandinavian sagas or reading Dostoevsky in translation, perceiving these things in the original language would change the apprehension. As the cultural information is always somehow kept in the language, knowing the language means having access to the culture, traditions, and experience of people who speak it.

Languages are Helpful for Business and at Work

Finally, the increasing globalization tendencies in modern society make language proficiency an important factor for business success. International companies need to hire workers with the knowledge of foreign languages to establish worldwide cooperation, which makes business flourish. That is why bilingual or polyglot employees are more likely to succeed in their careers, and companies that hire them are more likely to advance in their business.

Beneficial but Unpopular in the USA

The listed benefits prove that learning languages are an extremely useful activity. Not only does it lower the risks of cognitive diseases and improve thinking skills, but it also allows us to communicate, travel, culturally develop, and advance in business. Although the popularity of learning foreign languages around the world increases, it appears that students in the USA mostly do not learn foreign languages. A report by Devlin (2018) shows that compared to approximately 92% of European students learning a foreign language at school, there are only about 20% of American students who do it. This is a serious issue in the world where foreign language skills are so essential.

Possible Disadvantages

People who do not learn foreign languages justify this by arguing that this skill is not as important as it may seem. They claim that learning languages are a long and challenging process that does not meet the efforts spent on it. Besides, there is a popular opinion that technical progress will allow people to use special devices for translation into any language under any circumstances. The last point may seem convincing, although specialists doubt whether it is possible to create such a perfect translating machine. Furthermore, learning languages may be long and challenging, but it cannot be considered a valid argument due to the positive effect on brain health it causes.


In conclusion, learning languages is a useful and beneficial activity. It has a positive impact on cognitive health and intellectual capabilities, broadens career opportunities and communication abilities, and facilitates traveling and cultural exploration. However, American students do not learn languages a lot, and it may be not beneficial to them. Foreign language is a significant aspect of education; therefore, it should be taken seriously and studied at schools and universities.


Calabria, M., Hernández, M., Cattaneo, G., Suades, A., Serra, M., Juncadella, M., Reñé, R., Sala, I., Lleó, A., Ortiz-Gil, J., Ugas, L., Ávila, A., Gómez-Ruiz, I., Avila, C., & Costa, A. (2020). Active bilingualism delays the onset of mild cognitive impairment. Neuropsychologia, 146, 1-48. Web.

Devlin, K. (2018). Most European students are learning a foreign language in school while Americans lag. Pew Research Center. Web.

Woll, B., & Wei, L. (2019). Cognitive benefits of language learning: Broadening our perspectives. Final report to the British Academy. British Academy. Web.