If you think I’m going to rant about the practical and most obvious benefit that bilingualism has (more job opportunities!) then you are wrong. I am going to tell you how being bilingual makes you smarter than the others.
What is Bilingualism?
First things first, the ability to know more than one language is called Bilingualism. It is multi-dimensional and includes language proficiency and language use, this means that just knowing a language is not enough; you should use it as well. The more you use it, the more proficient and bilingual you become!
What benefits does it have?
As I said earlier, bilingualism comes with a variety of benefits. The most obvious one being that you get better jobs and can travel internationally. But the other most attractive benefit is that it makes you smart. Let’s simplify things and understand how that happens.
It is only now that scientists believe that bilingualism makes you smarter. Their view in 20th century was remarkably different. Bilingualism was thought to be an obstruction in a child’s development. It was believed that knowing two languages interfered in speech as both language systems were active in the brain and one caused disturbance to the other. But this turned out to be a blessing in disguise; it acted as a workout session for the brain! Therefore, bilingual people are better at multi-tasking, irrespective of whether the task is linguistic in nature or not!
Bilinguals are also better than monolinguals (those who speak just one language) at language processing as their brain is already experienced in processing more than one language on a day to day basis. They have good analytical skills and a sharper mind overall which makes problem solving easier for them.
Bilinguals constantly switch between languages and hence also have a heightened ability to monitor their environment. Knowing two languages requires lots and lots of memorizing, as a result, bilinguals outperform monolinguals when it comes to tasks regarding memory.
Delay in cognitive diseases
Bilingualism can help postpone the onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among the elderly; the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset. Thanks to the mental activity involved in dealing with two languages actively.
Learning more foreign languages
Researchers and scientists claim that once a child learns two languages, learning another one becomes easier for him/her. This study still needs to be proved though.
Knowing more than one language has many advantages such as:
- Improved communication skills
- Good listening skills
- Exposure to other cultures
- Better understanding and open mindedness
In all, being bilingual makes us smarter and more aware as we know so many words and meanings from another language which those who speak just one language do not know.
More than half of the world today is bilingual or multilingual. Are you among the smarter 50% of the world?