It’s obvious why language-learning tops most people’s New Year’s resolutions every year. But if you’re still not unsure, maybe this list of the benefits of learning a language will convince you this might be the year to fulfill a long-neglected goal. Without further ado, here are eight reasons why learning a language is the hobby you want to pick up in 2021.
1. Help create structure in your morning routine
Establishing a morning routine that’s low-effort, soothing, and productive is the best way to start your day. It’s also a much better way to begin the morning than jumping straight into your work inbox or household chores. And yep, you guessed it — when you start your day with a language lesson, you can get a taste for that beautiful brain space also known as “flow,” or “being in the zone.” Whether it’s with our app or on your own, a simple 15-minute chunk of learning time can warm up your brain for the day ahead.
2. Improve your mental health and exercise your brain
One of the most tangible benefits of learning a language is pretty science-based. According to several studies on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, bilingual individuals experience a delay in mental decline compared to monolinguals. The effects might not feel so tangible, but exercising your brain is every bit as important as exercising your physical muscles. Just think about the last time you tried exercising after going a few weeks (or months, anyone?) without exercise. Now imagine the same sluggishness on your brain!
As one happy user confirms, “I’ve been using Babbel to revive my then unloved school Spanish for the past week and I’ve been really loving it. It gives you more freedom in what you want to learn, [but] there is also a course specifically for getting back into the language after some hiatus which also looks great. At the same time the lessons themselves are much more structured than Duolingo and they force you to go slow taking time to take in the presented material. Being somewhat impatient, this is an aspect I rather appreciate, since it keeps me from flying over material without understanding it.
3. Connect with millions of people around the world learning a new language
It’s true what they say, the best way to make friends is to rally around a shared interest. If, like most people around the world, you’re yearning for community and conversation around literally anything that’s not Covid-19, then give a new language a whirl. Online, you’ll find tons of message boards and social accounts where you can nerd out over grammar quirks, and the best of memes.
4. Get to know another culture’s quirks
A language is an intimate look into another culture and will deepen your understanding of a people’s values and history. For example, did you know that in German — like in many other languages — every verb comes in two “you” forms (the formal “Sie” and the informal “du”)? Switching from the use of “Sie” to the “Du” can take some time between strangers, and is the reason why German friendships can be considered more established and genuine. Learning a language comes with the huge advantage of helping you understand cultural differences that might seem arbitrarily established.
5. Talk to your grandma (or nephew, or long-distance friend) in their native language
According to “How to Win Friends and Influence People,”a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Personally, I’d add that a person’s name in their native language is actually even sweeter. If you care about someone whose primary language isn’t English, try and learn their native language and watch how they light up when you try and communicate in it.
Take the example of 76-year-old Babbel user Dieter, who wrote to us, “My name is Dieter and I’m 76 years old. I have spoken little or no English in recent years. Now my grandchildren in the USA are old enough to talk with them. For this reason I have started to improve my rudimentary english skills. I tried different options and ended up at Babbel. I really like the podcast and its structure. I’m happy that this opportunity exists.”
6. Get paid
To stay competitive in the global job market, it’s essential that you have an understanding of at least two languages. This is especially true if you work in finance, business, or marketing. Plus, it’s more fun than taking an Excel course, and cheaper than a coding class. What’s more, your multilingualism will also offer other advantages in your interpersonal office relationships, helping you better understand and communicate needs within your team.
7. Read in a new language
If you’re into reading, then nothing will enrich the storytelling reading experience more than finding new languages in which to experience it. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to immerse yourself in new dramas and romances. Remember: There’s a Shakespeare and a J.K. Rowling in every language, and you have the opportunity to escape into millions more titles just by learning a new language.
8. And last but not least, learn a new language to get through the Covid-19 times
No doubt about it, life has objectively been harder for people than ever in recent memory. It’s also more monotonous, more asocial, and more discouraging. Learning a new language won’t save the world from the pandemic, but it can and will give you a sense of progress and personal satisfaction, and will you help you emerge more ready to reconnect with the world than ever before.
As Andre puts it, “You may not believe it, but at age 75+, I am learning German not only to keep sanity at the Covid time, but to read a book given to me by German friends. First, I learned using Duolingo and YouTube for more than a year to find explanations for Nominative, Accusative and other cases. But now after more than a year with Babbel, I am reading “Nachtzug nach Lissabon,” using dict.cc just once per page.”