Hard to believe, but half of the planet population can speak two or more languages. Contrary to the opinion that bilingual people have a lower intelligence capacity because they need to take more effort to avoid mixing up two or more languages, numerous studies have proven that this fact actually develops their brain and prevents neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
In this article, we tried to gather all evidence proving that learning new languages and using them regularly is nothing but beneficial.
Benefits of Bilingual Education
- The researchers explain that children used to speaking multiple languages possess greater cognitive flexibility due to the fact that they switch from one system of symbols to another on a regular basis. It is a kind of gymnastics for the brain, which thus increases its performance.
- Bilingual people have a greater possibility of abstract reasoning, which is independent of words, which gives them an advantage in constructing concepts, solving abstract problems, and writing reflective essays. They can become great essay writers or provide help for those struggling with writing.
- Bilingual children know very early on that there is more than one way to express themselves, so they relativize their languages. They have the capacity to reflect on a language as an object. This is why they often have an easy time learning to read because they are used to different systems for expressing their thoughts and feelings. It is their advantage over monolingual children. They quickly integrate the principle of correspondence between mental representation and writing because they are already used to the arbitrariness of the link between a mental image and the corresponding signifier.
- Bilingual people also have a communicative sensitivity. They react more quickly in communication situations because they are used to deciding fast which language to use in a given situation.
- Bilingual people find it easy to learn a third, fourth, fifth language. First of all, by learning two languages, they understand better the structure of a language as a whole. Secondly, they are used to learning new lexical units and often do it on the fly. Thirdly, they rarely have a language barrier based on the insecurity and fear of making mistakes or being misunderstood.
- Bilingual people are accepted in both cultures and are naturally open to other cultures. Mastering the language of your family, grandparents, and cousins allows you to keep ties with the family and to feel part of a human and geographic whole.
- Bilingual people have intellectual advantages, more mental flexibility, more creativity, more originality in their way of thinking. They find it easier to find two or three solutions to a problem. People using multiple languages are also better at research.
- Speaking two or more languages promises more possibilities in one’s career path. In the context of globalization, a multilingual person has an advantage in all domains compared to monolinguals.
There is no doubt that bilingualism introduced in childhood naturally, for example, in the case of mixed marriages, families of different origins, or the fact of living in multiple countries, brings positive changes into a child’s future. Not only they become bilingual and also bicultural, but they later have a competitive advantage on the market of labor and are naturally more skilled in intellectual jobs.
Bilingual education from early childhood has become a trend due to its numerous benefits. Even if you did not have a chance to have a taste of another language when you were a toddler, or you hated French classes at school, it does not mean that you can’t start learning a new language now.
How Do I Become Bilingual?
The easiest way to become a bilingual person is to have relatives speaking different languages or entering a bilingual educational institution. If this is not an option for you, then the easiest way to become bilingual will be to make it your passion.
Do you remember your experience when you took classes at school? You were involved more in some subjects, and some of them just eluded your attention. For the classes you were passionate about, hours passed at a crazy speed, and you probably still remember the most important concepts. In other classes, you had to force yourself before you set to work. Good grades were harder to get.
To study and speak another language, it’s the same. If you start your learning by telling yourself that you are going to be bored, you are indeed going to have a hard time. If, on the other hand, you manage to make your language lessons fun, you will progress at lightning speed.
Games are always fun. If you construct your learning process using the principles of gamification, you will never feel the lack of motivation, and the chances to achieve your goal are generally higher. This is not an easy task, so you can look up applications for language learners that are based on the gamification principles, such as Duolingo.
Playing isn’t the only way to learn new language skills. The aim is to link learning foreign languages with activities that you enjoy. In this way, your other passions will be connected with the language learning process, and, in this way, you will trick your brain into thinking that this is something that you always enjoyed. Here are some examples:
- Watch movies and series in a foreign language;
- Play sports while listening to podcasts in another language;
- Listen to international music;
- Read in another language;
- Meet and chat with people originating from the country, the language of which you are learning.
In this way, you will be using your second language every day and will master it in the nick of time. Learn the language now, prevent Alzheimer’s later!