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5 Steps to Quickly Learning How to Speak a Foreign Language

Popsugar – Macy Williams

“Learning a language is a huge accomplishment. Some say it takes patience to master a new language, but is that really true? You can actually establish your skills in no time; it all depends on how you go about it. We’ve put together some simple tips so that you can start your crash course on the right foot. Check out these helpful hacks and get to practicing!”(more)

Our brain benefits from an overlap in grammar when learning a foreign language

Max Planck Society – Staff Writer

“Researchers from Nijmegen have for the first time captured images of the brain during the initial hours and days of learning a new language. They use an artificial language with real structures to show how new linguistic information is integrated into the same brain areas used for your native language…The major discovery was that the brain cares whether or not the grammatical properties of the new language (in this case, word order) resemble the grammatical properties of your native language. If they are similar, your brain uses its own grammar in learning the new language. And if the word order of the new language differs from your mother tongue, your brain needs to build a new grammatical repertoire. For the first time, researchers have shown that it helps the brain if it can reuse characteristics of our mother tongue when learning a new language.”(more)

Essay contributes to national study on foreign language learning

Penn State News – Kristie Auman-Bauer

“Society is becoming increasingly multilingual and more engaged around the globe — yet as many as 80 percent of Americans speak only one language, compared to 50 percent of Europeans over the age of 15 who can converse in a second language.
 To help address this issue, two Penn State researchers were recently commissioned to write an essay on the consequences of multilingualism…Kroll and Dussias’s essay, “What are the Benefits of Multilingualism to the Personal and Professional Development of Residents of this Country?” is the first to be posted on the commission’s website and dispels many of the criticisms of multilingualism in the U.S…recent research indicates multilingualism provides multiple benefits to individuals of all ages. “Young babies are not confused by hearing two or more languages and actually are more open to new learning languages,” Kroll reported. “Adult learners also have the ability to acquire a second language…Multilingualism changes the brain in positive ways across the lifespan.””(more)

Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

Hafha – Grace Hwang Lynch

“It is never too early to expose children to a foreign language and culture. Children especially between the ages of 4-5 have an open mind and absorb information like little “sponges”…When it comes to teaching kids a second language, there can be a confusing array of choices. Here’s some information on the most popular methods to help you find the right way for your child to learn another language.”(more)

Short-term language learning aids mental agility, study suggests

Medical Xpress – Staff Writer

“Mental agility can be boosted by even a short period of learning a language, a study suggests. Tests carried out on students of all ages suggest that acquiring a new language improves a person’s attention, after only a week of study. Researchers also found that these benefits could be maintained with regular practice…This improvement was found for all ages, from 18 to 78 years…Lead researcher, Dr Thomas Bak of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences said the results confirm the cognitive benefits of language learning. He said: “I think there are three important messages from our study: firstly, it is never too late to start a novel mental activity such as learning a new language. Secondly, even a short intensive course can show beneficial effects on some cognitive functions. Thirdly, this effect can be maintained through practice.””(more)

How Being Multilingual Can Affect Your Financial Future

Odyssey – Serena Hajjar

“With growing interdependence among countries, multilingualism is becoming an increasingly important asset, especially in the workplace. Today, the most prosperous economies in the world are driven by open- and free-trade principles. This requires constant interaction with people from all around the world, people from vastly different cultures. To successfully participate in this globalized economy, it’s important to recognize that not everyone will speak your language (that would be a rather pretentious assumption)…the law of supply and demand plays a significant role in determining the economic value of various languages…to maximize your earning potential, learn a language which is in high demand, but low supply.”(more)