What makes learning a new language difficult

Learning a new language: advantages and disadvantages

You can learn a language for a variety of reasons - for travel or work for fun or out of interest. Regardless of your personal reasons, it is clear that there are many advantages to mastering two or more languages. But have you ever considered the downsides (sounds strange, doesn't it)? While it is quite difficult to find one, there are a few negative aspects to being multilingual.

Here you will find the pros and cons of learning a new language.

The benefits of learning a new language

1. Make contacts

The first advantage is pretty obvious: the more languages ​​you speak, the better you can communicate with other people - whether you're moving to another country, attending an international school, or using social media. If you speak another language, you will make new friends and share your thoughts and views with people you would not have met if only you had stayed with your mother tongue. Opening up new perspectives and getting to know the mindset of people from other cultures is an incredibly important part of speaking multiple languages.

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2. Make money

There is no greater disappointment than finding a job ad that would be perfect for you - only to find out that you don't meet the language requirements. By mastering a second language, you open doors to new professional opportunities. In addition, studies have shown that bilingual employees are more likely to be promoted and earn more than staff who speak only one language.

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3. A boost for your creativity

It takes a lot of creative thinking to learn (and actually use) a new language. If you don't know how to say something in your target language, then you have to find another way to express yourself - for example through gestures or imaginative paraphrases. In addition, people who speak a second language are better able to find creative solutions to a problem.

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4. Super powers for the brain

Did you know that learning a new language improves your brain function? There is evidence that language learning actually benefits the gray matter and improves memory, reasoning and problem-solving skills. Learning a language also protects the white matter in the brain, which allows information to be processed more quickly. And you know what? By learning a new language, you can even prevent dementia as you get older. Great right?

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The disadvantages of learning a new language

1. Loss of cultural identity

Learning a second language, especially for young people, sometimes means ignoring the first language. For example, if you've moved and have to communicate in a different language most of the time (except maybe at home), you may end up neglecting your first language. Because language is strongly linked to our cultural identity, this can mean that the connection to your own culture is no longer so strong.

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2. You are not quite yourself

When communicating in a second language, it can be difficult to show your personality. Especially if your skills are not that advanced and you still lack the vocabulary to express yourself as you would in your first language. This means you may not be able to show how intelligent, funny, or empathetic you really are.

Even advanced learners struggle with this personality change. Why? Because every language is unique. In your first language, for example, there are expressions or ideas that are based on the history of the country or the respective common culture. These terms and phrases may not exist in the second language, which makes it difficult for you to express what you really want to say when you talk to people from different backgrounds.

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3. It takes time

Have you ever heard of "opportunity cost"? That's the cost of something you'd like to do (the "opportunity"). The opportunity costs for a great concert would be the price of the ticket, for example. But costs cannot always be measured in terms of money. When it comes to learning a new language, time is a major cost. In other words, it takes time to learn a second language. This is time that you would otherwise spend doing other things, like meeting friends, working overtime in the office to save money, or even learning something else, like playing the guitar. Everything has it's price!

Grow beyond yourself as you learn languages

Despite some disadvantages, you will gain a lot if you speak more than one language. The quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein almost makes it great together:


"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world."