Last month we delved into the world of foreign languages and exactly how learning a second or even third language can be beneficial.
It can improve job prospects, memory and even make you smarter, but these are by no means the only benefits.
Don’t worry if you’re not a natural linguist, it’s not only those that can already speak multiple languages that can reap these rewards. If you’re currently learning a language or considering learning one then these benefits might just help make your decision.
Alzheimer’s and dementia
There have been a number of studies and articles published over the years that suggest a link between bilingualism and staving off Alzheimer’s. The mean age for the onset of symptoms in a monolingual adult is 71.4 years, whereas for those regularly speaking two or more languages this age rises to 75.5. Despite taking into account factors including physical health, gender, education and income, the results of the studies have been consistent.
Multi-linguals use all of their language skills to make a decision and are therefore able to reach much more rational conclusions. Every language contains subtle intonations and pragmatic tone within the vocabulary, and these can subconsciously manipulate your judgement. Multi-linguals are much more confident in their decisions because they subconsciously evaluate situations in each of the languages they understand. This allows them to analyse their initial conclusion to ensure it still stands up.
Improved English skills
When learning a foreign language you focus much more on the mechanics of language – grammar, sentence structure and spelling, for example. When you’re learning a language these are things that you don’t take for granted because a detailed understanding is essential. Awareness of these elements of language makes you much more aware of the way you use your first language, for example how it is structured and can be manipulated. The English skills that you develop because of this will make you a better communicator, writer and even listener because you become skilled at understanding meaning from discreet sounds.