It is no surprise that as a nation we are not known as natural linguists - our mother tongue being the second most spoken language in the world. At school, languages are only a required subject up until the age of 14, after which many children don’t continue learning. But, why is this?
Learning languages may be seen by many as intimidating and a waste of time, rather than enriching and transferrable, when in fact research sways towards many health benefits*.
- Cognitive benefits
- Faster stroke recovery
- Self-confidence, leading to decreased stress levels and low self-esteem
Keep Learning is one of the five ways to wellbeing, and so learning a language can also act as a form of mindfulness. The learning process is an immersive experience - especially with many online/physical tools and resources available to learners.
Along with mindfulness, learning in all forms can help break monotonous patterns, which may have been increased for many people by the presence of the pandemic. Writing in the Guardian, a blogger known as the Compassionate Language Learner describes how learning helped their depression.
“Depression often makes your world feel small, and your options few. Languages provide a window on to a wider world. Any activity has the potential to break monotony, but languages seem especially useful, at least for me, by allowing me to connect with people and by giving me a route back to the things I feel are important.”**
*The British Academy study into the cognitive benefits of language learning
Why not start learning a new language with one of these free online language learning resources:
Duolingo - https://www.duolingo.com/
Busuu - https://www.busuu.com/
Internet Polyglot - https://www.internetpolyglot.com/home
Babbel (7 day free trial) - https://uk.babbel.com/