Learning a new language has a profoundly positive impact on the brain. On a superficial level, one assimilates a new culture–along with its novel ideas–in the process. For instance, have you ever come up with a brilliant retort too late? The French call that l’esprit de l’escalier, or “stairwell wit.” Or have you ever housed an entire box of cookies when you were upset? We call it binge eating, but the Germans have a different term, kummerspeck, which roughly translates as “grief bacon,” and captures the notion in a fresh and oddly precise manner. So in a sense, to learn a new language is to absorb centuries of thoughts founded upon different perspectives and experiences–it diversifies not only your mode of communication, but also your worldview.
Then there are the structural benefits of learning a new language. To name a few: (1) better standardized test scores; (2) better recall of sequences (likely from memorizing so many grammatical tenses; (3) greater immunity to groupthink, pedagogically known as “cognitive traps,” (which comes in handy during political season); and (4) the type of delay in cognitive decline that Mental Mojo’s nootropics (Alpha GPC, Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Phosphatidylserine) are known to catalyze.
In sum, learning a new language is perhaps one of the most powerful cognitive enhancers out there from both a functional and structural standpoint (in addition to Mental Mojo, of course). What’s more, with Rosetta Stone, Google Translate and many other emerging tools, it is easier than ever to accomplish. So slug some Mojo, grab your smartphone and start learning; even if you don’t buy into the research just yet, at the very least you’ll have a cogent excuse to travel!