The benefits of a bilingual brain

I recently saw an interesting video about the benefits of a bilingual brain and I realized that I urgently need to get to fluency in a second language. While this alone doesn't make the person smarter/smarter, the “little” of the perks described in the video are already worth striving for to be a bilingual, at the very least.

Another thing that was also evident is that it is never too late to learn a new language and that there is no one too old or too young for that.

Watch the video to learn a little more about the benefits of a bilingual brain:

Below you can check the video content.

The benefits of a bilingual brain

¿Hablas español? Parlez-vous français?你会说中文吗?

If you answered 'sí', 'oui', or '是的' and you are watching this in English, it is likely that you are part of a bilingual and multilingual majority.

And in addition to the perks when traveling or watching movies without subtitles, knowing two or more languages means your brain can be and function differently than your monolingual friends.

So what does it mean to know a language?

Language ability is measured in two active parts, speaking and writing, and two passive parts, listening and reading.

While a balanced bilingual has nearly equal abilities in two languages, most bilinguals around the world know and use their languages to varying degrees.

And depending on the situation and how they acquired each language, they can be classified into three general types.

For example, let's look at Gabriela, whose family immigrated from Peru to the US when she was two years old.

As a composite bilingual, Gabriela develops two linguistic codes simultaneously, with a single set of concepts, learning English and Spanish while beginning to process the world around her.

Your teenage brother, on the other hand, may be a coordinated bilingual who works with two sets of concepts, learning English at school while still speaking Spanish at home and with friends.

Finally, Gabriela's parents tend to be bilingual subordinates who learn a secondary language by filtering it through their primary language.

All types of bilingual people can become proficient in a language regardless of accent or pronunciation, so the difference may not be apparent to a casual observer.

But recent advances in brain imaging technology have given neurolinguists clues about how aspects of language learning affect the bilingual brain.

We know that the left hemisphere of the brain is more dominant and analytical in logical processes, while the right hemisphere is more active in emotional and social processes, although this is a matter of degree, not an absolute separation.

The fact that language involves both types of functions while lateralization gradually develops with age led to the critical period hypothesis.

According to this theory, children learn languages easily because the plasticity of their developing brains allows them to use both hemispheres in language acquisition, whereas for most adults, language is in one hemisphere, usually the left.

If this is true, learning a language as a child can provide a broader understanding of its social and emotional contexts.

On the other hand, recent research has shown that people who learn a second language in adulthood have less emotional bias and a more rational approach to confronting problems in the second language than in their native language.

But it doesn't matter when you acquire additional languages, being multilingual gives your brain some notable advantages.

Some of these are visible, such as a greater density of gray matter that contains most of the brain's neurons and synapses, and more activity in certain regions when conversing in a second language.

The intense training that the bilingual brain performs throughout life can delay the onset of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's for up to five years.

The idea of cognitive benefits from bilingualism may seem intuitive now, but it would have surprised past experts.

Prior to the 1960s, bilingualism was considered a handicap that held back child development by forcing a child to expend energy on differentiating two languages, a view based on flawed scholarship.

And while a more recent study showed that reaction times and errors increase for some bilingual students on cross-language tests, it also showed that the effort and attention required to switch between languages generated more activity and potentially reinforced the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex .

This is the part of the brain that plays a big role in executive function, problem solving, switching between tasks, and concentrating on filtering out irrelevant information.

Bilingualism may not necessarily make you smarter, but it does make your brain healthier, more complex and activated, and even if you're not lucky enough to learn a second language as a child, it's never too late to do yourself a favor and make linguistics change from 'Hello' to 'Hola', 'Bonjour' or '您好'.

Because when it comes to our brains, a little practice can take us far.

9th Japanese Language Week

Those were the benefits of a bilingual brain, did you like the video? I take this opportunity to pass on an important message for anyone who wants to become fluent in the Japanese language.

Next Tuesday, 19/09/17, the first video of the week of japanese, free event made by 先生 Luiz Rafael, to want and aim to learn Japanese.

The event runs until 03/06/16, so don't waste time and register now to follow the videos.

Register now for Japanese's week by clicking here!