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10 Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Learning another language can promote brain growth, stave off dementia, boost memory, improve attention and more…
From PsyBlog

To have another language is to possess a second soul.” –Charlemagne

People used to think that learning two languages created confusion in the mind.

Far better, it was thought, to get one right than bother with two.

An even more extreme and absurd view was that learning two languages caused a kind of schizophrenia or dual personality.

Some studies did seem to back up the idea that learning two languages could be problematic; early researchers noted that bilingual people tended to have smaller vocabularies and slower access to words.

But these myths and minor disadvantages have now been overshadowed by a wave of new research showing the incredible psychological benefits of learning another language. And these extend way beyond being able to order a cup of coffee abroad or ask directions to your hotel.

1.Brain growth

Language centres in the brain actually grow as a result of successful language learning. The better you learn, the more those vital areas of the brain grow (Mårtensson et al., 2012).

2. Stave off dementia

Bilingualism delays Alzheimer’s disease in susceptible people by as much as five years (Craik et al., 2010). Seems incredible, but the studies are continuing to support this result. To put this in context: the effect on dementia of learning another language is much greater than anything achievable with the latest drugs.

3. Hear language better

Being bilingual can lead to improved listening skills, since the brain has to work harder to distinguish different types of sounds in two or more languages (Krizman et al., 2012).

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