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World Languages and Cultural Studies

Why study another language?

What does research show about the benefits of language learning?



“In this age of accountability in education, policymakers and administrators, as well as parents, are increasingly demanding to know what research studies show regarding the benefits of language learning.  This document will identify some of the major correlation studies that highlight how language learners benefit from their experiences.”

- Learn more at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)website 

“The brochure Language Study In the Age of Globalization: The College-Level Experience is directed primarily to college students. It argues that knowing other languages enriches students personal lives, expands their range of professional opportunities, and increases their power to act as citizens of the world. The brochure is intended for distribution by faculty members and departments, student advisors, and representatives of programs in international studies and study abroad. It may be copied without permission.” 



  • “Looking back over my 20 year professional career in public policy and international business, my foreign language training prepared and inspired me to think globally about my future, helped me make great friends around the world, and opened doors for me in my career.  In short, learning foreign languages did not just give me ways to communicate with people in other countries, but it deepened my understanding and appreciation for the rich and complex world we live in.  Today, with the world’s borders more porous than ever, I believe foreign language training needs to be an important part of any serious student’s academic curriculum.”  ~ (read the full article here
  • “Learning a foreign language teaches you that there are often several ways to express a concept or an idea. In the business world, it gives you an incredible edge in being able to communicate directly with your customer. It creates a relationship you could never achieve through an interpreter.”  ~ (read the full article here)   
  • “Discover new worlds! Get an insider’s view of another culture and a new view of your own. Studying a new language, reading other people’s stories, and connecting with people in their own language can be a source of pleasure and surprise. Connect with other cultures. Learning about other cultures will help you expand your personal horizons and become a responsible citizen. Your ability to talk to others and gain knowledge beyond the world of English can contribute to your community and your country.”  ~ (read more here)   
  • “Learning a foreign language takes time and dedication. The reasons below may help to convince you to take the plunge, if such persuasion is needed. Some reasons are practical, some aspirational, some intellectual and others sentimental, but whatever your reasons, having a clear idea of why you’re learning a language can help to motivate you in your studies.”  ~ (see the full page here)





Further Readings

Why Chinese Is So Damn Hard

by David Moser

University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies

“What I mean is that Chinese is not only hard for us (English speakers), but it’s also hard in absolute terms. Which means that Chinese is also hard for them, for Chinese people.”