The ability to speak two or more languages is kind of like a secret superpower.
It might seem kind of strange, but being bilingual offers you a host of benefits.
In addition to the ones that you might expect, such as being able to find jobs more easily or being able to communicate more effectively with others, there are tons of things that being bilingual does to your brain that makes you smarter, gives your cognitive ability a major boost, and that can even help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as you grow older.
Researchers have even found that bilingual individuals have denser grey matter than those who only speak one language.
Makes You Better at Multitasking
The improved cognitive ability of those who are bilingual shows itself in a lot of different ways. At the most basic level, those individuals who are bilingual have consistently proven to be able to complete tasks such as puzzle solving at a faster rate than their monolingual counterparts.
Not only that, but their ability to quickly switch between two languages and two language structures means they’re also able to switch between other tasks much more quickly, making them more effective at multitasking than their peers.
It almost goes without saying that their practice in developing immense vocabularies spanning two languages has an enormous benefit on the memories of bilingual individuals. They have also been shown to have a better ability to concentrate on their tasks and to make better decisions, often by thinking major decisions through in both languages they are fluent in.
Bilingualism and Children
But it’s not only adults who can greatly benefit from fluency in two or more languages – there are tremendous benefits for children as well. One of the most immediate effects of being bilingual is the feeling of confidence and accomplishment that they feel, which can in turn lead to better work in the classroom and higher scores.
Being bilingual also gives them a better, more innate understanding of language, which can help them understand grammar rules and to use it more effectively. In addition, they typically will read earlier and with better fluency than other children.
It’s not just language where children who are bilingual can thrive, either. Children who are bilingual show consistently higher math scores than their monolingual peers because they have developed better abilities when it comes to problem solving and thinking in an abstract manner.
And there are other benefits that go beyond cognition. Those with the ability to speak multiple languages also have the opportunity to be a part of and experience multiple cultures. They typically travel more, and when it comes to the workplace they typically make much higher salaries than their peers.
While those who choose to learn a second language later in life might not be as proficient as those who learned more than one language from birth, the majority of the benefits of being bilingual remain no matter when you learn it.
Take a course – even a course online – and make some new friends who can help tutor you in your new language. If you have younger children, make sure that they’re actively learning with you, as the benefits that they will have will pay off in an even bigger way.
How The Brain Benefits From Being Bilingual?