What are the advantages of being bilingual 1
Speaking a second language has several advantages. You have probably heard or read this before ... And which advantages are mentioned most often? That you have better job opportunities, that it becomes even easier to learn a third language, that you can make friends all over the world or communicate without problems abroad ... The above mentioned reasons were, by the way, my main motivation for learning and then perfecting English Language. However, there are several others Benefits of being bilingualthat I've only recently come across and that are too little talked about. Maybe these will motivate you too, so read them!
Last update: October 5th, 2020
There is a multitude of studies showing the Benefits of being bilingual point out exactly. Or at least the advantages that all bilingual people have over monolingual people. These studies are mainly based on the fact that a bilingual person's brain is always active in both languages…. even if he only speaks one language. So this double activity requires this person to resolve internal conflicts ("What language will I choose to answer this or that person?"). A constant mental task that leads to deepening of certain cognitive aspects of the brain.
What are they now Benefits of keeping our brain doubly active by thinking in two languages?
Benefits of bilingualism: Training for the brain
The bilingualism improves the cognitive as well as the executive functions of our brain. Functions that guide our behavior and emotional activities. Would you like some examples? These functions help you to set goals, to plan strategies for achieving these goals, or to organize yourself and manage everyday tasks. annotation: these are the functions that change our behavior according to our goals. According to Albert Costa *, author and scientist at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, has the Enhancement of the executive functions of the brain an enormous advantage for bilingual people compared to their monolingual conspecifics.
Why? Bilingual people do indeed greater capacity to keep an eye on their environment and watch them. Because they often switch back and forth between languages, which forces them to pay attention to their surroundings and to adapt quickly to changes in their environment.
An example? A bilingual person is discussing with two people of different nationality and mother tongue. He can switch from one language to the other in order to communicate with both parties. This strenuous exercise is hard work for the brain, as it has to know with whom to speak German, for example, and who to speak French, for example. It would not be able to do this without keeping an eye on its environment.
Increased control of the brain
Bilingual people have a tendency to have one increased control over the cognitive functions of the brain to develop (functions in terms of planning, concentration or a lock on habitual answers). According to the studies carried out by Kovacs *, children at 7 months who were born in a bilingual environment, as opposed to those born in a monolingual environment, learned not to use answers to questions given to them in advance of the study. Instead, they chose the answers that fit the questions better.
This means that When planning or changing a plan to achieve a goal, a bilingual person's brain is better prepared to suppress obstructive responses in order to focus on achieving the goal.
Benefits of bilingualism for your health
So thinking in two languages has many advantages over the long term. Several studies have shown that bilingual people are diagnosed with Alzheimer's an average of 4 years later than monolingual people. Indeed, once older people start learning a foreign language and progress to an advanced level, they can maintain a certain level of brain activity that slows the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
Video BONUS: Why you become a better person when you speak foreign languages
Are you still not entirely convinced? Then watch the following video:
In this small but fine one Video we have summarized other advantages of bilingualism for you. It is in English, but of course you are welcome to enable the subtitles in German.
We hope that these - new - advantages have convinced you to stick with language learning. Or start now! I don't know what you think about it, but I think it's worth it 😉 You are also welcome to share your views with us in our comments box. We look forward to getting to know your experiences!
Our other articles on bilingualism
We have written several interesting articles on the subject of bilingualism and the benefits it brings. If you want to know more about this fascinating subject, check out the following articles:
* Costa, A. et al., 2011. Bilingualism Tunes the Anterior Cingulate Cortex for Conflict Monitoring. Cerebral Cortex, 22 (9), pp. 2076-86.
* Kovács, M. and Mehler, J., 2009. Cognitive gains in 7-month-old bilingual infants. PNAS, 106 (16), pp.6556-6560.
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