Those of us with some bilingual capacity — however minimal it might be — now have another scientific excuse for feeling proud of ourselves.
Although it’s long been known that speaking two or more languages is a powerful way to increase your brain power, research has shown that there are even more benefits than we thought.
For example, most researchers agree that learning to speak two languages can cause interference in the brain of a child, but for a long time, they believed that this would be a bad thing.
However, a 2004 study of bilingual and monolingual preschoolers gave a very different indication. Kids in the experiment were asked to solve a mental puzzle that involved sorting blocks and colors.
The study found that while both groups had an easy time sorting simple color into different groups, when the stakes were raised and they were asked to sort by shape into bins labeled by color, bilingual participants completed the task considerably faster than their monolingual peers.
What this tells us is that while learning a language does cause interference, that’s actually a good thing, because it makes our brains more efficient at performing mental feats like problem-solving and planning.
There’s good news for the elderly as well. According to research, bilingual seniors are more resistant to the development dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than their peers. The higher the degree of bilingual proficiency, the later the age of onset.
And finally, for those in middle age, there’s no better reason to learn a language than to be able to go to another country and be able to communicate! At the very least, speaking an in-demand language like Spanish might help you in a job hunt.
¡Ahora me voy para que pueda estudiar más el español!