For Languages Lovers
THE BENEFITS OF SPEAKING MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE
Hi there, Laura here writing from the University of Geneva library, a beautiful building situated inside of the “Parc des Bastions” in Geneva. (I really love this building, its architecture and the emotions it makes me feel). If you have the opportunity to come to visit Geneva (I hope you do), you must absolutely not miss this part of Geneva, often considered the green lung of the city center.
Today though, I want to talk to you about the benefits of speaking and learning more than one language, and how different languages can shape our brains. Because the words we hear and the languages we speak have a deep impact on us.
The view and understanding of bilingualism have evolved remarkably over the last century. Until then, cognitively speaking, bilingualism was considered to be an interference in intellectual development.
But today, scientists are shedding some light on the advantages that speaking more than one language may bring us by unravelling how the bilingual brain works.
Let’s See What these Positives Effects of Bilingualism are:
- Enhances Your Ability to Multitask
Brain scan studies show that switching between two languages triggers different patterns of brain activity compared with people who only speak a single language.
The evidence found suggests that the more languages we learn, the easier our brains find it to organize and act on information. This includes using working memory, reasoning and planning. As a result, we become better at multitasking.
- Neural Plasticity
It seems that language learning boosts brain plasticity and ability to integrate new information. The process of learning foreign languages can improve the brain cell’s potential to form new connections faster.
This is great news for those who care about their brain’s health and want to improve it by learning a new language.
- Increase your Memory
To master a new language demands the management of an immense volume of new information. Its common knowledge that the more we use our memory the more efficient it becomes.
Bilingualism continually test the ability to think and remember rapidly, helping us to focus on what matters and ignore other distracting inputs.
- Speaking Multiples Languages Changes the Perception of Reality
Juggling multiple languages change the way we perceive and respond to our surroundings. To talk about perception, I will refer to Lera Broditsky, an associate professor of cognitive science at the University of California. She specializes in the relationship between language, the brain, and a person’s perception of the world, and she had this to say:
“The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is. Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000. [There are] 7,000 languages spoken around the world. And we can create many more. Languages […] are living things, things that we can hone and change to suit our needs.”
You can watch below on a Ted conference, Broditsky illustrating her argument about just how the language we speak shape the way we see the world.
The way we perceive and respond to our surroundings is also affected by which languages we speak. Think about the different experience a Spanish Speaker and non-Spanish Speaker will have in Barcelona for instance.
- It Stalls the Onset of Alzheimer and Dementia
According to a study from the University of Edinburgh, a group of researchers found a correlation between bilingualism and progression of dementia and other cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The results have shown that the bilingual patients had developed dementia, on average, four and a half years later than the monolingual ones. Maybe, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but can change the lives of your loved ones
This is another amazing reason why you should start learning/improving a new now!
- It Makes your Life Experience Better
On the personal and emotional side, learning a language is a discovery trip. It’s not just grammar and vocabulary, but also involves an understanding of another culture. It enables the student to communicate and eventually socialize/work with people of the language that is being studied. In the case of Spanish, this is a language that is spoken not just in Spain but also in the right across the Americas, the possibilities are far reaching.
What opportunities bring you to learn Spanish?
To drink a Mate in Argentina, explore the majesty of the Pyramids in Peru, or maybe forge a new life in wonderful Spain. Speaking Spanish makes all these experiences so much more involving.
I’ve tried all kind of approaches such as learning and using language to shape the physical structures of our brains.
Whatever language you choose to learn there’s no denying about all profound positive effects that has on us. I’m already dusting off my Italian books.
What about you?
Are you ready to strength your cognitive muscles and get a new perspective on the world by learning a new language?