From education to employment

The Longevity of Language Skills

We live in a world where everything’s made easy for us. Technology like Google Translate means we have instant access to every word in every language, all the time. It feels almost impractical to spend time developing foreign language skills when we have tools like this available at our fingertips.

But there are so many unseen benefits of learning additional languages that most people are totally unaware of. Research has shown us that foreign language skills last an entire lifetime and endure far longer than other abilities like mathematics, even having a positive impact on other functions carried out by the brain. Languages are such a vital strength to attain, which is why Preply was launched; to help hundreds of thousands of learners across the globe cultivate these lifelong skills.

When we discuss the benefits of bilingualism or multilingualism, it is important to note how beneficial language learning is to the overall function of our brains. The brain processes and stores information in various different ways, and learning different activities and skills can considerably strengthen some of its particular functions.

Studying the impact of learning a learning

A 2014 study into the impact of language learning on the brain showed that individuals who could speak multiple languages performed better on attention and general intelligence tests, and had stronger concentration and memory skills,  than those who could not. In a report by The British Academy, as many as 90% of studies looking at the effect of language learning on other subjects, such as maths and science, reported a positive impact. 

It is a well documented phenomenon that language skills significantly increase other cognitive functions considered essential for everyday life. This fact alone should clearly demonstrate the benefit of obtaining these skills and why it is so important that we encourage people to learn in this way. The team at Preply sees the value in mastering additional languages, which is why we strive to provide  tailored, personal lessons of the highest quality to our customers, allowing them to learn and develop in the quickest and most effective way. 

Lifelong Skills

Another value of language learning that we are proud to shout about at Preply is the fact that we arm our customers with skills that will literally last a lifetime. Not only have attention and concentration been observed to improve in those who learn additional languages, but information retention is one of the most well-documented advantages of language learning. Researchers in Sweden found that language students who regularly practised and attended lessons experienced physical growth in certain parts of the brain. The hippocampus  and cerebral cortex, areas of the brain associated with learning and memory, were both observed to increase in size.

The more languages we learn, the better our brains are able process and retain new information. This is why it is not uncommon to hear stories of people effectively recalling languages that they had not studied for many years.

The retention of foreign languages

In August this year, the University of York conducted some research into the retention of foreign languages, using English participants who had learnt French as a subject at school. They were assessed on their French fifty years after sitting their last exam, and performed at the same level as school students who had just been tested on the subject. This extraordinary stat just goes to show how long-lasting and worthwhile learning a language really is.

At Preply, we pride ourselves on the longevity of the skills we offer to our customers and the ways in which language learning can improve so many other aspects of a person’s life. We recognise all of the additional benefits that come with speaking more than one language, and hope to provide as many people as possible with the tools to realise these benefits themselves.

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