Benefits of learning languages
Learning languages has several cultural, social, educational, and job related advantages. But you know all that. In this article we will talk a little bit about the benefits it has on our brain.
Growing up bilingual
I think we all know, or have heard, that growing up with two languages is very useful for you and really good for the brain and cognitive functions. Well, it is true.
Traditionally, the majority of bilingualism studies has focused on speakers who acquired both languages in the first years of life. This early period is called “critical period”. Because this is the time when the human brain has maximal sensitivity to language stimuli. So this is when it is easiest and fastest for our brain to acquire languages.
But don’t worry if you were not raised in a bilingual environment as a child.
In most of Europe and in the United States most people start learning a second language only at school, not before. New studies seem to suggest that bilingualism advantages can be observed well-beyond the traditional age boundaries of critical periods. So don’t worry if you start/ed learning a language in your teens or as a young adult. The effects of the bilingual experience are observed in all these age groups.
And, listen to this! You’ll most probably still enjoy a lot of the advantages even if you start learning that language as an adult or senior! The scientists conducting these researches don’t see why not! And they will study this phenomenon more deeply. But they say that learning a second language at any age seems to be very beneficial to the brain.
Benefits of learning languages on the brain
A new study on people with dementia found that bilingual patients developed their disease on average 4.5 years later compared to patients who spoke only one language.
The study provides the best evidence to date that merely processing a second language offers a protective benefit to the brain.
Dr Thomas Bak says that learning a language is just as excellent for the brain as swimming is for the body. Swimming is particularly beneficial for the body because it provides a balanced workout. Similarly, language provides a thorough brain workout. When switching from one language to another, the brain must process different words and sounds and often must work in an entirely different setting in terms of syntax and social norms, which activates several different brain regions.
Now indulge your brain with some tests.