Ever thought that people who speak more than one language must somehow have different brains to you and me? Well, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong – in fact, being bilingual (i.e. able to speak two languages) affects the way your brain functions in a number of ways…
No longer should you only want to learn another language if you hope to travel the world, watch foreign movies or make new friends overseas. Rather, various psychological studies strongly suggest that speaking a language other than your mother tongue drastically improves the way your brain functions: from making your ideas in the workplace more dynamic, to strengthening your resistance to dementia as you get older.
We’ve highlighted three ways in which learning another language could benefit YOU:
We all know that other languages bring exposure to new cultures, allowing you to view the world through a different lens. But how does this apply to real-life?
One of the tangible benefits of learning a new language is the way it helps you to see problems from different angles. Linguists are becoming increasingly valuable in the workplace as problem-solvers: employees with flexible minds who can think ‘outside the box’. This is because of their heightened ability to observe situations from the perspective of others, something which bilingual people do all the time when choosing how to best communicate their ideas to others in another language.
Contrary to the old adage that only women, and not men, are able to multi-task, it is not your gender but, in fact, your proficiency in other languages that determines how well you can carry out a number of tasks at the same time.
Bilingual brains are accustomed to switching between languages at any given moment, depending on the situation in which they find themselves: “Should I speak English with these guys, or Spanish? Maybe Mandarin would be more appropriate?” The more languages you speak, the easier it is for you to complete a number of tasks at any one time, even if they have nothing to do with language!
Just as training the muscles in your arms means you can lift heavier weights, training your brain by learning another language improves your working memory capacity. This can have more than one positive effect on your life, no matter when you start learning.
Not only will tasks requiring efficient short-term memory become easier, but recent studies show that the cerebral effects of bilingualism can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years. In other words, learning a new language is an incredibly effective way to keep your brain active in the long-term, significantly influencing the make-up of your brain right through to old age.
Fluent Language offers personalised classes using a unique methodology in order to help you achieve your language goals, whatever they may be.
Sign up for our online English classes taught by our specialist native teachers today!
BBC World Service: Cómo cambia tu cerebro al hablar varios idiomas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwghZEmvmb8&t=0s)
British Council: Does being bilingual make you smarter?
LinguaEnglish: How learning a new language can change your life