Why Being Bilingual Can Actually Make You Smarter?
What if you were told there was a way you may avoid dementia, strengthen your cognitive skills, and heighten your intelligence, and all you had to do was learn another language?
It probably sounds great, because if you’re like most you would love to be able to speak a second language. But then, you recall your experience in high school foreign language – boring rote memorization and long hours with little progress – and perhaps it doesn’t sound so good any more.
Most people recognize the many benefits of learning a foreign language: You can travel to foreign countries and feel comfortable, be a more productive and enticing employee in today’s competitive job market, and immerse yourself in the vast cultures that surround you.
But now, the collective evidence from a number of recent studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function —a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems, and performing various other mentally demanding tasks.
These processes include the ability to ignore distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another, and holding information in the mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.
Even better, new approaches to learning mean you can learn a new language without the endless repetition, homework, and memorization. Each lesson is aimed at teaching you to use the core vocabulary of the language, so you can speak the most in the least amount of time. It's not how many words you know, but rather, which words you can use.
And, if that doesn’t tempt you, the benefits to learning a new language just keep adding up. In addition to keeping your mind sharp and your reflexes quick, it also may ward off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.