The benefits of being bilingual
We’ve probably told you about how good it is to learn another language in a blog post already – in fact we’re sure of it because knowing another language is pretty important and very cool. Once you reach bilingual status the benefits are even greater and some of them are even guaranteed. Check out 7of the benefits below:
- You’re smarter
This year it became official that bilingual speakers have more grey matter in their brains compared to those who only know their mother tongue – this means that we can officially say that bilingual speakers are cleverer because science backs up the cognitive advantages of knowing a different language. Giving your brain two languages to juggle with is a huge workout for the brain. By doing this your brain learns to ignore irrelevant information – making bilingual speakers fantastic at analysing. Being bilingual also allows you to multitask a lot better than monolinguists, as your brain can focus on more than one thing at a time. This generally allows bilingual speakers to have quicker reactions than monolinguals.
- You have a better memory
The same study confirmed that Scientists found that bilingualism increases the size of the brain responsible for short term memory. Again by working with two languages, you are constantly exercising the muscles of your brain improving cognitive ability and memory capacity. In fact the link between memories and language is extremely interesting. For instance, according to psychologists the way we recall a memory experienced in one language comes quicker to you if you recall it using the same language you experienced it in as opposed to your other language. However, we can still access memories in our second language although it may take slightly longer and some aspects of the memory may get lost in translation.
- You’re protected from Dementia
Did you know that around 24 million people worldwide suffer from a form of dementia? Being fluent in another language is known to reshape the brain. A study by York University conducted on 104 people aged between 30 and 88 years old, showed that those that were fluent in a second language had sharper brains. This study suggested that bilingualism is protecting the brain and keeping our minds sharper as we age. It is thought that learning a second language from a young age can influence the way your neurons develop. So research is showing that bilingualism could slow down the onset of dementia by almost 5 years.
- You’re a better communicator
Although, there have been some in the past concerns over how bilingual speakers could have a shorter vocabulary list than monolinguists, bilingual speaks are still known to develop better communication skills. This is because people exposed to another language, especially from early age, are able to understand others more easily. Bilingualism makes us more perceptive of our surroundings, which enhances our emotional intelligence and consequently makes us better communicators.
- You make friends easily
Following from the previous point – since we bilinguals are better communicators, we obviously make friends more easily than monolinguists. This is because we understand others better and are good at reading others’ emotions as well as their language. Also having an extra language allows us to relate to others of another culture in their own language and share experiences with them, which connect us.
- You’re a better lover
Yep, we’re still expanding on point 4. Bilingual speakers are known to be better lovers because of the way their languages make them experience the world and relate to others. By knowing how to speak a second language also allows us to get to know ourselves better and understand our souls. All this in turn makes us better lovers.
- You’re always in the know
When you know more than one language, you always know what is going on around you. This isn’t just because you’re more perceptive but because you can also read up things in two or more languages. What does one country and another think about the same controversial topic? Well, you’re probably the first to know. You also know whether films in one language have been accurately translated into another, and it secretly boils your blood when translations are inaccurate. And the best thing about is you can be really nosy by listening to other people’s conversations on public transport and use it as an excuse to keep practicing your language skills.
These are just seven but there are many, many more!