Fact: A bi-lingual brain enhances cognitive function and is better at filtering out redundant words than monolinguals? Research reveals that the bi-lingual brain comprises a greater density of gray matter, which comprises most of the brain’s synapses and neurons.
Bear in mind that a second language offers various benefits to the brain, regardless of whether you learned it as an adult or child.
In fact, scientists have discovered that the benefits of bilingualism are more fundamental than conversing with a wider group of people. In the event that you are considering having your child learn another language, perhaps these benefits will help you in your decision.
The Effect of a Second Language on the Brain
In a joint study conducted by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, Oxford University, and The Neuro at McGill University, researchers concluded that learning a different language later on in childhood after becoming proficient in the native language, modifies the brain’s structure — particularly the inferior frontal cortex.
The cortex plays a huge role in cognitive functions — language, thought, and memory. The study also suggests that the acquisition of a second language after infancy stimulates the growth of new neurals and connections in ways similar to acquiring complex skills such as juggling.
In another study, researchers suggest that a second language may help enhance brain function irrespective of when you begin. The study further reveals that a new language may improve memory abilities and thinking skills.
In the study, researchers found that young adults who exhibited proficiency in two languages registered a better performance on attention tests and showed better concentration compared to those who spoke one language regardless of whether they had learned the language during childhood, infancy, or teen years.
Engaging in another language also increases brain activity in certain regions, enabling a mental workout while helping postpone the onset of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Advantages of Being Bi-Lingual
- Enhanced Control over Literacy Skills
A study conducted by York University revealed that bilingual children have better metalinguistic development, giving them a deeper understanding of the language structure.
According to the study, the children also performed better when tested on non-verbal executive control, which gauge the capacity to focus concentration where needed without distraction and to shift attention when needed.
- Delays Onset of Alzheimer’s
Research conducted at St. Michael’s Hospital established a link between bilingualism and the delayed onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms. The findings reveal that bilinguals are continuously using their brain while keeping it active. The researchers also believe that this may contribute to general brain health.
For this reason, numerous physicians advise older people to do crossword puzzles. The study revealed that bilinguals continually switch from one language to another or suppress one in order to speak the other, making their brains better prepared to compensate via enhanced pathways or brain networks when Alzheimer’s sets in.
You’ll be surprised to learn that bilingualism offers mental benefits in addition to professional and personal benefits. If you’re still skeptical about learning another language, these benefits may convince you otherwise.