Bilingualism: important in today’s society

Kristina Baca

Learning a new language is important. Those growing up in the age of social media have learned the language of tweets and posts to instantly communicate thoughts to people from around the world. However, important aspect of communicating that is easily overlooked is the actual language spoken by humans. In today’s world, more than ever, it is important for everyone to learn a second language. Learning another language provides many benefits that may not be obvious on the surface. Learning a second language expands a person’s job opportunities, improves brain functioning and memory, and, in the United States, enables people to connect with a growing diverse population of multilingual residents. 

Learning a second language expands the number of opportunities for anyone looking for work in today’s job market. In March 2017, the New American Economy reported in the study, “Not Lost in Translation: The Growing Importance of Foreign Language Skills in the U.S. Job Market,” that between 2010 and 2015, the number of job listings that targeted bilingual speakers more than doubled. The study showed that employers were looking for employees who could work overseas in international jobs, as well as serve bilingual communities in the U.S. Many of the jobs advertised included higher pay and bonuses as incentives for multilingual speakers. 

In addition to the benefit of more job opportunities, learning a second language can improve several aspects of brain functioning. In the October 2012 issue of Cerebrum, in “The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual,” authors Viorica Marian and Anthony Shook report the benefits to include boosts in memory, problem solving, and multitasking abilities. Also, research reported by Alladi Suvarna and Thomas Bak in the November 2013 issue of Neurology in “Bilingualism Delays Age at Onset of Dementia,” showed that the onset of dementia for those who speak only one language is around four years younger than those who speak a second language. 

Finally, according to a U.S. research conducted from 2009-2013, “Detailed Languages Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over: 20099-2013, more than 60 million people in the United States now speak a language other than English in the home. Speaking a second language allows building connections to this growing population and a better understanding of their cultures, which could help to unify the country. 

Learning a second language is extremely important in today’s world, now more than ever. From increased job opportunities to brain power boosts to personal connections, the benefits are well worth the investment.