I often hear language learning is much easier when you are younger, and that we must teach our young students another language when they are young so that they can be ‘more competitive’ in an increasingly globalized, connected world.
While I don’t argue with that at all, there are many other benefits that come from being bilingual. The handy infographic below takes a look at how the brain benefits from being bilingual. We’ll give you a hint: there’s much more to it than just being able to communicate with more people in their native tongue! Keep reading to learn more.
Bilingual is Beneficial!
- Being bilingual is associated with better cognitive skills, even when only one language is used regularly
- Bilingual children adjust to environmental changes better
- Bilingual seniors experience less cognitive decline
- Bilingual individuals tend to be able to solve puzzles more quickly and successfully than others
- Bilingual adults with Alzheimer’s take twice as long to develop symptoms as their monolingual counterparts
- The mean age for first signs of dementia is about four years later in bilingual individuals
- Bilingual individuals tend to be better multitaskers and can switch gears more easily
- Bilingual individuals display increased concentration on tasks and assignments, and tend to more easily distinguish relevant information
- Bilingual speakers tend to have better overall memory
- Bilingual individuals have denser grey matter than monolingual individuals, making them better at processing language, storing memory, and dictating attention span
- Bilingual individuals tend to be better at math and problem solving
- 19.3% of people in the US spoke a language other than English at home as of 2007 – which represents an increase of about 9% since 1980!