The Rest is Politics is having a bit of a moment.
The odd-but-good pairing of Alastair Campbell — Tony Blair’s former Head of Communications — and Rory Stewart — former Conservative MP and London Mayoral candidate — exchanging views on their weekly current affairs podcast has proved an unexpected hit, with worldwide audience numbers now into six figures and a million downloads per episode.
As avid fans of the benefits of learning a language here at City, we were delighted to hear last week’s podcast in which Campbell pointed to the importance of mastering influential languages such as Mandarin and Arabic, and also to the value of learning any language for the process alone.
Both podcast hosts speak from experience. While Campbell is fluent in French and German, Stewart speaks eleven languages, including French, Latin, Greek, Dari (a form of Farsi), Nepali, Urdu, Indonesian and Serbo-Croat.
If after listening to their podcast you’re still in any doubt about why you should learn a language, here are five more reasons:
- Learning a language can increase your confidence and mental alertness
A 2019 Italian study, looking at the effects of language learning on adults between 59-79, found that it improves “global cognitive and re-organizes functional connectivity.”
- Learning a language can protect against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
Several studies have found that language learning engages parts of the brain’s network that overlap with regions which can be negatively impacted by ageing.
- Learning a language can broaden your horizons
A 2021 UK government report recognised the value of learning a language to protect against ‘insularity and provide an opening to other cultures’. And by being able to talk to more people, you’ll also be able to express yourself in a more diverse range of ways. A win-win!
4. Learning a language can make you more compassionate
A recent study found that bilingual children were ‘better at grasping other perspectives,’ something we could all do with more of in our increasingly polarised world.
- And if nothing else, learning a language is a useful exercise in humility
There’s nothing like learning a language to remind you of your fallibility! But being in a position of uncertainty can actually help you recognise the steps you need to close those knowledge gaps. No bad thing for any learner, or any human being for that matter!
For all City’s short online language courses, visit our languages home page. We cover everything from Arabic to French, German, Korean and Japanese all taught by qualified, native speakers using the recognised framework of languages such as CEFR (for European languages), JLPT (for Japanese), or HSK (for Mandarin).
To learn from our students how they found learning with us, read our blog post here.
And if you’d like to talk through your options, just email our friendly team on firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll be happy to help.
For all our other courses, visit our home page here.