Interested in jumpstarting your career? What about traveling the world or becoming a true polyglot?
Language learning often starts with big goals—the kind of milestones that can change your life when you finally reach them. But, as with most things in life, there’s so much to be said about finding joy in simpler milestones. The journey to mastering a second language is no different!
There’s one simple, obvious benefit to learning a language that beginners often overlook: the opportunity to level up your social skills. It might not be a flashy milestone, but it’s one that has myriad benefits in your social life. From better conversations to more meaningful friendships, here’s the full breakdown of the social perks you’ll gain on your language learning journey.
1. Have better conversations
If you’re new to language learning, let’s talk through what the process looks like. First, you’ll tackle a lesson. Pick up new vocabulary and learn a verb tense or two. Then, you’ll need to put what you’ve learned into practice. Here’s where conversation comes in.
Conversation is both the end goal of your learning and an important teaching tool. You won’t be able to master the ability to converse comfortably in a new language without many hours of practice.
It’s the most crucial exercise in language learning, as it helps you:
- Cement and retain what you’ve learned
- Master the art of thinking on your feet in a foreign language
- Gain exposure to a wide variety of accents, colloquial slang, and vocabulary that you might not encounter in a traditional learning environment
Outside of language learning, you’ll also pick up the ability to:
- Strike up a conversation with anyone
- Engage with a variety of people
- Power through the small talk to have meaningful conversations
Being a better conversationalist isn’t exclusive to any one language. You’ll be able to transfer these same skills to every conversation! Practicing your new language with family, friends, or new acquaintances is the perfect way to hone your skills—and have fun while doing it!
2. Make meaningful connections
Language learning gives you the opportunity to meet new people, both at home and abroad. There’s no reason to be shy when approaching strangers to chat, either! Think of your own experiences in meeting people who are learning your native language. While not everyone will want to chat, many will be happy to shoot the breeze and teach you new vocabulary in the process.
In this section, though, we’re emphasizing how language not only opens doors to new connections, but meaningful ones. Learning a new language can help you connect more deeply with the people in your life who already speak it. Perhaps you have a grandmother you want to bond with, or a coworker you’d like to get to know better.
They’ll know first hand what tends to get lost in translation:
- Jokes that are best understood in their native language
- Poetry, which often loses its rhythm when translated
- Idiomatic expressions, which can mean different things (or lose their meaning entirely) when translated
And they’ll be so excited to share the unique nuances of their native language with you. In addition to that, language learning is a great motivator in setting aside time to connect regularly. With that much conversation, it’s easy to build stronger friendships and relationships with the people around you. There’s really nothing that says “I care about you” better than taking the time to learn someone else’s native language.
3. Deepen your cultural perspective
Learning a new language can often feel like stepping into a whole new world. That’s because language isn’t only about grammar and verb tenses. It’s deeply intertwined with the cultures and histories tied to it.
Learning about culture can be incredibly rewarding, and is ultimately what makes language learning so fun! From movies to music, your brave new world is steeped in myriad cultural opportunities, and your conversation partners are no doubt eager to share guidance to help you learn more.
There’s a couple phrases you can memorize in your new language early on to solicit quality recommendations. Here’s a few to start with:
- What books have you read lately?
- What’s your favorite podcast?
- What sports did you love watching as a kid?
- Any new artists I should check out?
- What do you watch when you want to laugh?
Once you immerse yourself in a new culture, you’ll realize how much more there is to learn from the world. The social benefit here is that language learning allows you to break out of your everyday bubble and seek out new cultures and experiences.
4. Feel more confident
There’s something to be said about putting yourself out there to reach your goals. If language learning is your personal milestone, then every moment of practice—no matter how mundane it feels—is quite the accomplishment. You’re one step closer to achieving what you set out to do. And isn’t that something worth celebrating?
Confidence is a natural consequence of language learning. You’re conquering something new. You’re meeting new people along the way. You’re moving that needle from one point to the next, and becoming a different, more well-rounded person in the process.
It seems simple, but boosting the confidence you have in yourself can change your outlook on life, as well as the way you approach difficult situations in the future.
5. Be more empathetic
If you grew up in the US, you may know firsthand what it is to grow up in a community that only speaks English. In many regions of the US, English is the only language spoken by more than 95% of the population, and 79.7% of US residents only speak English at home.
While it’s difficult to pull a definitive number, researchers estimate that well over half the world’s population, in contrast, speaks two or more languages.
What does this say about monolinguals (people who only speak one language) and their world view? If learning a new language isn’t necessary for your day-to-day life, you may not feel compelled to break out of your cultural bubble.
You may also find it more difficult to step into another’s shoes, and to really empathize with the experience many have in immigrating to a new country and struggling to learn a new language.
The practice of learning a new language is deeply rewarding, but it’s a commitment. Struggling through conversations, missing key vocabulary, and making every effort to master an accent are just several elements that learners may find humbling. If you’re considering adopting a new language yourself, you’ll likely find a newfound respect for how much fellow bilinguals have already accomplished.
Master every social situation
The social benefits of learning a language are subtle, but deeply meaningful. Not to mention they can help you land those big-ticket goals that may have inspired your journey in the first place, like traveling or boosting your career.
If you’re interested in learning a second language, Rosetta Stone is the perfect place to start. With 25 languages to choose from, Rosetta Stone’s unique Dynamic Immersion approach to learning can help you pick up languages fast, and feel comfortable carrying conversations from your very first lesson. Rosetta Stone Stories and Audio Companion are also great for learners looking to dive into the culture behind each language.
Start your first lesson today at www.rosettastone.com.