Learning another language is good for you. It allows you to communicate with people from another culture and learn more about their experiences. It gives you the opportunity to see the world from another perspective. Making your world a little bigger is all the more important in our increasingly interconnected world.
Learning more than one language is also beneficial for your brain, as it increases the size of the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. The area of the brain responsible for processing language and information have denser grey matter, which means there are stronger connections between neurons in the brain. Being bilingual has also been found to improve memory and enhance your attention span. Research is even beginning to show that speaking more than one language can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
So, what are some good ways to learn a foreign language?
Stop by the library and check out our foreign language books (many of which also have accompanying CDs). Languages in our collection include Spanish, Arabic, French, Italian, Korean, Hindi, German, Chinese, Urdu, Polish, and Japanese to name a few. Materials about learning a foreign language can be found in the 430–499 area of our nonfiction section.
Learn a new language with fun and interactive lessons, including important cultural contexts and realistic conversations. Over 70 different languages are available. Use your library card to access this resource for free.
Discover online courses on a wide variety of topics for general users, students and professionals including courses for Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese language learners. Use your library card to access this resource for free.
Websites and Apps
This popular app offers thousands of bite-sized lessons in 30+ languages. You can complete the lessons online or on your phone. While you can upgrade to a "pro" account to go through lessons faster, all of the lessons are free.
Open Culture has catalogued free resources all over the web (including video, audio and interactive lessons) for 48 languages.
Babel offers lessons in 13 languages and requires a monthly subscription, but you can pick your lessons based on level or time commitment. You can complete your lessons either on the app or a computer, and there is an option to take classes in real time.
Rosetta Stone, widely considered to be the gold standard in language learning software, offers courses in 23 languages and provides an immersive language learning environment for computer users. It also used to be quite expensive, but now only requires a monthly subscription to access content.
Now that you know all the benefits of learning a foreign language and how you can practice, all that's left to do is to pick which language you want to learn. What will you choose?