The benefits of being bilingual
- By Anna
Speaking two languages instead of just one has obvious benefits in rapidly changing, multicultural, globalised world. It is clear that being bilingual opens a lot of different doors, not only in terms of your professional career, but also in terms of your personal development.
It turns out that bilingualism can have much more perks that you would think at first. The most obvious benefits would be being able to talk to a wider range of people, easier travelling or being able to watch a film in its original language. However, there appear to be many more, not-so-obvious advantages.
It has been scientifically proven that being bilingual makes you smarter. Speaking more than one language can have a profound effect on your brain, improving your cognitive skills, and even preventing dementia in old age.
The image of bilingualism is much different now than what it was a century ago. Back in the day, it was perceived as an obstacle, especially for children and teenagers. Many scientists and educators insisted that being able to speak more than one language could interfere with one’s education. Today, that opinion has changed completely. Although, the researchers were never wrong about the fact that bilingualism interferes with a person’s education, it is definitely not a burden, but more like a blessing in disguise. There is scientific evidence that when you speak in one language (while being fluent in two or more), all languages that you can speak are active in your brain. This could lead to a situation where one language system obstructs the other. But this interference forces the brain to resolve the conflict and at the same time it gives the mind a valuable workout which strengthens the cognitive muscles in the brain.
Bilingual people are also usually better at resolving mental puzzles or tasks. The collective evidence from a number of studies implies that bilingualism improves people’s solving problem and planning skills as well as remembering complicated directions, for example when driving a car.
I hope this article motivated you, even if just a little, to learn a foreign language. Keep exercising your mind and gain those bilingual superpowers!
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