1. You Develop Better Memory
Researchers have found numerous positive impacts that being bilingual has
on our brain. First of all, knowing two languages helps you process information
about the surrounding environment more effectively, meaning you become a faster
learner. Next, children who speak a second language typically have much better
working memories, compared to monolingual peers. Adults, fret not! Though our
working memories are developed early in life and it may be harder to master a
new language once we’re grown-up, you can still reap the positive benefits.
2. You Strengthen Your Brain
Being fluent in more than one language improves your brain’s functionality
by challenging it to operate within different language systems. From a
scientific standpoint, switching between different languages triggers the
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for
problem-solving, multi-tasking, and focusing on important things while filtering
out irrelevant information).
Bilingual people are also better at paying attention to their environment
and analyzing it. This skill comes from being able to tell which language is
spoken, so that one can quickly switch between different languages.
3. You Stave Off Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease For a Few Years
According to Brian Gold, a neuroscientist at the University of Kentucky
College of Medicine in Lexington, knowing two languages can reduce the risks of
Alzheimer’s and postpone dementia.
When conducting a test with bilingual seniors, researchers discovered they
were better at tasks that required them to sort out colors and shapes, when
compared to monolingual peers. They also monitored the processes happening
inside their brains with a scanner. It turned out that the brains of a
monolingual worked much harder to accomplish the task, while the bilingual’s
brains were more efficient and could be compared to those of young adults.
Having more reserve of brain power when you age can help you stay protected
against the losses caused by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
4. You Become Better At Building Relationships With Others
Apart from the obvious fact that being capable of conversing in different
languages makes it easier to create social ties with people around the globe and
win attraction more easily, there’s also a more subtle level of impact behind
Susan Ervin-Tripp from the University of California noted in her report,
“When we are in situations demanding a change in language, we may have a strong
sense of a shift in values and feelings. Some bilinguals even report they have
two personalities.” Indeed, a lot of bilinguals admit they feel like having two
different personalities for operating one or another language.
Mainly, this is due to the fact that different languages influence the way
we think, from how we choose the vocabulary to describe the world around us to
getting influenced by the different cultures you are operating in. Actually,
that’s a great thing, as the ability to switch between different languages
improves your ability to understand others, be more empathetic, and communicate
better; therefore, drastically improving your relationships with others.