General Foreign Language Benefits

Below you will find a few summary statements on the benefits of learning a foreign language.  If you’re interested in the specific studies supporting the claim, simply click on the link for a more in-depth description and the specific citation.  Thanks to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages for the original work in compiling this list.

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How does language learning support academic achievement?

Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized test measures.

Language learning is beneficial to both monolingual English and English language learners in bilingual and two-way immersion programs.

Language learning is beneficial in the development of students’ reading abilities.

There is evidence that language learners transfer skills from one language to another.

There is a correlation between second language learning and increased linguistic awareness.

There is a correlation between language learning and students’ ability to hypothesize in science.

Language learning can benefit all students.

There is a correlation between young children’s second language development and the development of print awareness.

Heritage learners who use their language skills to interpret and translate for family members experience higher academic performance and greater self-efficacy.

There is a correlation between language study and higher scores on the SAT and ACT Tests.

There is a correlation between high school foreign language study and higher academic performance at the college level.

HOW DOES LANGUAGE LEARNING PROVIDE COGNITIVE BENEFITS TO STUDENTS?

There is evidence that early language learning improves cognitive abilities.

There is evidence bilingualism correlates with increased cognitive development and abilities.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and the offset of age-related cognitive losses.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and attentional control on cognitive tasks.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and intelligence.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and metalinguistic skills.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and memory skills.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and problem solving ability.

There is a correlation between bilingualism and improved verbal and spatial abilities.

HOW DOES LANGUAGE LEARNING AFFECT ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS ABOUT LANGUAGE LEARNING AND ABOUT OTHER CULTURES?

Research suggests that language learners develop a more positive attitude toward the target language and/or the speakers of that language.