I wasn’t born bilingual, but I can’t imagine living any other way now. (Lea este artículo en español, aquí.)
Knowing and understanding two languages allows you in a way to “see” another color… one that wouldn’t be there without the other.
As a bilingual individual (I speak Spanish), I think it’s important for me to touch this topic. Nowadays, I feel like the bilingual population is growing more and more, or is it just me? We are lucky. Our children are lucky, and I see it every day in my son when we speak to each other in both languages!
It got me to thinking it would be a great time to document a list of all the health advantages of being bilingual. So, here goes…
Our vocabulary helps us express our understanding of the world. There are different ways that other languages express concepts, using metaphors that just don’t translate from one to the other, making space in the brain for more creative ways to communicate.
Study results from psychologists prove that knowing many languages improves episodic and semantic memory at all age levels. Boom.
Your perspective expands when you learn or grow up with different languages. It brings you deeper into understanding cultures and traditions. Language is the most intimate and expressive product of cultures. It helps you understand and appreciate other points of view. In return, this helps you learn more about yourself too.
It is also proven that your social skills grow from learning new languages. Why you may ask? You can’t learn the language without practicing it with other people. This gets you to crack your shell and branch off. So, get on out there and visit new places with new languages near and far.
Bilingualism gets you out there! Traveling is very good for your health as it gets your mind active and expanded (yesssssss). Put your new language to use! Or, continue practicing one of your languages. You can “travel” locally too… it doesn’t have to be too far!
Practicing or learning two or more languages slows the aging of the brain. It doesn’t matter what age you startt. It’s never too late to begin!
Stress And Stroke Recovery
It can also save you from a stroke! The risk of reduced mental capacity is lowered after having a stroke because knowing two or more languages strengthens your interconnected brain.
It’s incredible how many jobs require bilingual employees. So if you want a better chance of getting the job and stop worrying about the bills, new languages can save you.
People relate learning a new language to cracking a code. Your brain begins to activate parts so that you can understand a strange message. The improvement of creativity to ‘crack the code’ helps you elsewhere in life too.
Yes, the disadvantages to being bilingual can be surprising. Sometimes it becomes trouble when we know a word in one language but we can’t think of it in the other and vise versa! This can cause people to mix the languages or even come up with words that don’t exist. Grammar, writing and speaking a new language can often be more difficult than reading, but just keep on practicing!
“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”