Why being bilingual can improve language learning?

Is being bilingual in diverse languages besides the native one an excellent way to improve your brain skills? The way we acquire language is an amazing process. In fact, children, younger than 3 years old, are able to absorb words in many different languages.

“The brain has a perfectly good system whose job it is to do just that – it’s the executive control system. It focuses attention on what’s important and ignores distraction. Therefore, for a bilingual, the executive control system is used in every sentence you utter. That’s what makes it strong.” Ellen Bialystok explained.

Bilingualism

Many schools in the United States offer a foreign language program. And many of them are not implemented until High School. But studies show the earlier a child learns another language, the better for the child’s brain. However, not until recently, scientific evidence suggests learning another language is better for your brain.

Between the 1880s and 1960s, educators believed learning a second language can lead to literacy disruption, language delay, and confusion. The opposite is true. Many of the benefits include language improvement, logical thinking, and enhancement of cognitive abilities.

Reading spelled with magnetic lettersRecent Studies

A recent study shows how infants write down signs of improved cognitive ability. A group of 7-month old babies were shown an image followed by a sound. Then, a puppet is presented in one particular part of the study. Several variations of the patterns and sounds are presented. And the puppet is moved from one place to another. Amazingly, bilingual children are able to expect the change of place of the puppet while monolingual babies were not.

Other studies show children between the ages of 5 and 6 years old that have learned a foreign language tend to prove developed mental skills. As a matter of fact, bilinguals add more details to drawings, suggesting creativity and enhanced language skills. A current study using functional near-infrared spectroscopy shows a difference in brain structure between monolinguals and bilinguals. The brain of bilinguals shows more activity in the inferior frontal cortex while reading. The human brain is an immense, powerful organ. And language acquisition is only one of its functions.

Additional Benefits

Besides the ability to know two or more languages, learning a foreign language has more benefits. It provides a competitive edge in college applications and resumes. It eliminates distractions and focuses on the task at hand. This mental agility gives the brain an extra boost in learning. And it can later prevent the early signs of dementia or mind aging.

The previous idea that learning a second language can delay language acquisition is an unproved one. Scientific evidence suggests bilinguals have more brain activity. Even as young as 3 years old, learning another language does not prevent their linguistics. Being bilingual is a great way to increase language learning for life.

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2 thoughts on “Why being bilingual can improve language learning?

  1. I agree with your arguments. I’ve recently encouraged my daughter to learn to speak Spanish since we are planning to move to Spain within 5 years and it would be helpful if she gets an early start in learning their culture.

    1. It’s so great to read other parents want their children to learn a foreign language.

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