European Year of Languages was was first celebrated in 2001, in the following years up to now, it has been called European Day of Languages instead. It celebrates the 6,000+ languages spoken around the world, by promoting the learning of them, not only for a short time but on a lifelong scale. Countries around the world are holding events, hoping to provide the first step in people beginning their journey in learning other languages. People and organisations see the importance in this, helping to bridge gaps between other cultures, that may not be well understood because of language barriers.

It can seem like a big task, to learn another language, so here are several benefits of doing so:

  • Become smarter:

Being able to differentiate, recognise meaning and communicate in different languages is an important skill, learning a language will teach you exactly how to do this. This will carry over to other types of problem solving, where finding meaning is involved.

Students who have studied other languages are shown to score better on vocabulary, maths and reading tests than their peers who do not.

  • Prevent dementia and Alzheimer's:

Multiple studies have been carried out on whether or not knowing multiple languages helps fend off the diseases and results have been consistent throughout. For adults that know one language, the mean age for first signs of dementia is 71.4 and for those who know two or more, it's 75.5. These studies take several factors into account, such as physical health, education level, income and gender, however the results still remained consistent.

  • Improved perception:

The University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain conducted a study showing that multilingual people are better at examining their surroundings. They are more skilled at focusing on important things in their environment and blocking out things that aren't. It's often easier for them to spot misleading information too, considering he was multilingual, no wonder Sherlock Holmes was so great at his job.

  • Your native language will improve:

Perhaps the most surprising benefit of learning another language is that it forces you to focus on the logistics of language; sentence structure, grammar and conjugations. Figuring these things out will allow you to be more critical of the way you speak your native language and figure out ways to say the same thing in different ways. These skills can make you an effective communicator, in both speech and writing. The way you listen will benefit too, since you'll more easily be able to understand what people are trying to get across by the words, grammar and sentence structure they use.

Can you think of any other benefits? Leave a comment below!