The brain is in a constant mode of learning, but as we grow older, it gets a tad harder to retain information or pick up a new skill. Similar to the other parts of our body, the brain also ages and deteriorates with time. Subtle changes in cognitive abilities include the slow decline in the ability to retain information or pick up new skills. Research has shown that the overall volume of the brain begins to shrink once we reach our 30s or 40s!
The only way to mitigate this process is simple: exercise! Similar to any muscle on your body, you will need to engage your brain with mental activities to keep it sharp and agile. You can opt for learning apps and the like, but the most straightforward approach is to simply pick up a new skill, such as learning a new language! Here are reasons why it may be beneficial for you to pick up a second language!
A Boost In Thinking And Memory Skills
When the brain is susceptible to ageing and shrinkage, the first thing you’d want to do is to mitigate this downward spiral, and hopefully even increase its volume! It has been established that for the majority, the native language is stored in the left cortex of the brain.
Language learning, however, requires the exchange of information between the two hemispheres. After all, you’d be learning sound system, absorbing vocabulary and familiarise yourself with the grammar and syntax rules, amongst many things. You’d be using different parts of the brain throughout the process and doing so, the structure of your brain will naturally change and adapt to accommodate the new pieces of information. Research has shown that there’d be an increase in the white and grey matter where brain neurons, synapses and fibres for cortical connectivity are contained. Thus, with improved cortical connectivity, you’d be able to utilise your brain with ease and efficiency. This means improved thinking and memory skills, a huge plus point even outside of your language classes.
Improved Executive Function
The executive function refers to a set of mental skills that allow the brain to exercise flexible thinking, self-control and working memory. Those that possess a higher grey matter volume, especially in the frontal and parietal brain regions, will enjoy an improved executive function. This is especially the case if you’re learning a language that has a different syntax structure or writing script than your native language. You’d need to be able to navigate through the highly unfamiliar syntax rules whilst learning an entirely different script, thus, fully utilising the frontal and parietal brain regions.
Enjoy Effective Communication
Since you’d be equipped with a new language, you’ll naturally attain the skill to be a better communicator. This is the case even in your brain! Switching back and forth between two or more languages takes a lot of effort, and it’s mental gymnastics for your brain. The brain will attain better compensatory mechanisms as it learns how to use the right language at any given time – native speakers have one uniform Broca’s region whilst those that picked up a language or two have the Broca’s area divided for each language. This allows multilingual individuals to be better at analysing their surroundings and picking up nuances that would otherwise be dismissed.
These are just a few benefits that language learning offers. All in all, acquiring such a skill will help you alleviate any forms of cognitive degeneration, especially as you and your brain age. If you’ve wanted to pick up a foreign language, why not learn Korean online?
The Korean language has a different syntax rule, writing script and even phonology when compared to the English language! It’ll give your brain the mental exercise you’ve always desired for! So don’t wait and sign up for Korean classes today!