When thinking about a language course, people generally are thinking about the language and their specific motivations for learning that specific language: visiting a new country, doing business in a new territory or preparing to emigrate.
These are all well and good for individuals, but companies might be glad to know that there are many diverse benefits to learning a new language that go far beyond just being able to communicate.
Bilingual People Become Smarter
The first fringe benefit might be intuitively appealing, but the science actually backs it up. Tests have shown that people who speak more than one language actually do better on standardised tests, especially in the areas of maths, reading and vocabulary.
Swedish MRI tests showed that candidates tested who were learning a language experienced actual growth in size of specific areas of their brains. Other students who were working hard but not learning a language, did NOT show the same kind of growth.
Improve Multi-Tasking Skills
According to a study from the Pennsylvania State university, being able to switch from one language to another also helps with your multi-tasking skills. The ability to switch between the different structures of more than one language and still be able to tell people what you mean seems to rub off on being better at juggling other tasks as well. The test found that multi-lingual candidates routinely tested better at doing additional, distracting tasks while operating a driving simulator than those who could only speak one language.
Another important spin-off is an improved memory. You have probably heard the saying that the brain is like a muscle: the more you use it, the better it gets? Well this would most definitely apply to your memory too. Tests have shown that multi-lingual candidates routinely score better when it comes to remembering shopping lists, names and directions.
It seems having to remember all the new rules and vocabulary definitely gives the old memory banks a good workout, resulting in better overall retention of facts and ideas.
Decision Making Is Improved
This would seem to be a must-have capability for businesses. Apart from the rules and vocabulary that go with learning a foreign language, there are subtle differences and new expressions that can have many meanings. A student of language has to be alert for appropriateness and hidden meanings. As a result of this, multi-lingual people become far more careful and discriminating and better at decision-making.
First Language Improves
The heightened awareness of grammar, syntax, vocabulary and meaning that learning a foreign language involves, seems to heighten the awareness of one’s OWN language, no matter which language you start with. This can result in benefits such as better overall communication, more accurate speech and writing and greater awareness of the limitations of any language in transmitting meaning.
So if you are deciding if it’s worth sending your staff on language training, remember that they will not only come back with a new language, but with an improved business skills set as well.
Wirtschaftssprachen Deutschland Free Tip:
When learning to speak a new language, try and drop the music and rhythm of your native tongue. Languages all have a unique intonation and emphasis pattern. By adopting the pattern of the language you are learning, you make it easier for its native speakers to recognise the pattern or rhythm of what you are saying, even when your pronunciation is not 100%.
At Wirtschaftssprachen Deutschland we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business English training to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business English and other language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote: www.wirtschaftssprachen.de
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By: David Chislett
Trainer Business English