There is no doubt that being multilingual is beneficial. Ability to speak several languages generally can influence many socioeconomic factors in our lives like more job opportunities worldwide, enhanced travel experiences, more dating prospects, new cultures and so on. However, there is more. Recent studies show that learning a new language also has positive biological outcomes to our bodies and most importantly to our brain.
Stay focused at age of 70!
A study conducted by Dr. Thomas Bak, a lecturer at Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, suggests that bilingual people do better at various tests than monolinguals. 853 11 years olds were tested and tested again then they turned 70. At the age of 70 bilinguals performed way better than expected suggesting increased cognitive abilities. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence, reading and ability to distinguish important facts from a vast stream of information. For example, people with such abilities can concentrate better in lectures and spend less time to get the same result than people whose concentration or ability to read is less advanced. As for 70 year olds, sharp brain can mean delay in various age related illnesses and also more meaningful time with families and friends.
It is easy to become more intelligent
It is noted that bilingual brains contain more grey matter which holds majority of neurons and synapses. A research contained 2 groups: people who were studying Arabic, Russian or Dari language and those, who studied other non-language courses. After an intense course all participants’ brains were scanned by an MRI and compared. Results revealed that people who learned languages had visibly bigger parts of brain in comparison to the other group, even though they too were studying intensive academics.
In addition, Lund University in Sweden released a study suggesting that fluency in another language might enlarge your hippocampus that is responsible for long term memory and to strengthen cerebral cortex that is in charge of reasoning, visual processing, memory and planning. This study claims that exercising our brain constantly reduces chances to develop memory related diseases such as Alzheimer or dementia as well as postponing these diseases by approximately 5 years.
Keep exercising your brain
Brain is like a muscle – practice makes it stronger. In order to practice it we need to understand that the left hemisphere of our brain is in charge of logics, analysis and rationale while right is there for creativity, intuition and impulsiveness. In learning a new language logics works together with creativity, understanding and a feeling. So language learning activates our brain as a whole – both left and right hemispheres making it one of a better exercises to keep our brain active at all times.
Also, learning a new language can activate parts of brain that have never been activated before! If a language doesn’t contain some sounds or grammatical forms there is no part in a brain that is responsible for it yet. For example, Japanese doesn’t have letter L which is usually pronounced as R, therefore a Japanese person learning to say “Learning a language” activates ability to recognise and pronounce new sounds.
The outcome is very simple – the more we learn, the more our brains develop.
People tend to exercise to get a healthy and beautiful body, however they usually forget that in order to stay healthy and fit for as long as possible we need to take care of our mental health too! And language learning is one of the best exercises to your brain.