In an increasingly globalised world speaking two languages rather than just one, being bilingual has obvious practical benefits linked to job opportunities and higher income potential. However, in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more significant than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, has a profound effect on the brain and can make you smarter.
These benefits of being bilingual can be summarised as:
1. Increased Mental Processing Capacity – this means people can handle more tasks at the same time and do them more quickly. This gives more avenues for thought and better problem-solving capacity.
2. Greater Information Processing Control – this means bilingual people are better able to sort out relevant information from irrelevant information. This means they can focus better and be more effective thinkers and decision-makers.
3. Improved Memory – this allows people to work with greater amounts of information which expands their knowledge-base and understanding
4. Increased Mental Flexibility – this means people are able to see a wider range of interpretations of information and can see the world from different perspectives
5. Greater Metalinguistic Awareness – this contributes to greater sensitivity in inter-personal communications
6. Improved Mental Health – there is scientific evidence which demonstrates that being bilingual slows down mental decline by two to four years
These benefits are taken from the book ‘Excellence in Bilingual Education’ written by Peeter Mehisto. The book (ISBN 978-1-107-61828-2) is published by Cambridge University Press.
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Benefits of Being Bilingual
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