Can you speak more than one language? Do you know how learning a second language affected your brain? Well, there are numerous apparent reasons why you should learn a second language. For example, it can help you advance your career, make your trips abroad more enjoyable and broaden your cultural horizons.
On the other hand, what is not so apparent are the cognitive benefits that occur when you learn a second language. Acquiring a new language is one of the most challenging things your brain can do. As a result, it makes it the ultimate brain exercise. Therefore, as you practice your Spanish grammar, you are getting more than just a new language.
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The Impact of Language Learning on Children’s Brains
In the past, even experts were against the idea of raising kids in a bilingual home. Some argued that such an environment would lead to delays in development, poor academic performance, and stunted intellectual growth.
However, after several years of studying the matter, it is apparent that the opposite is true. Experts have found that children can effortlessly learn an additional language because of their increased neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is your brain’s capability to form new neural connections and new brain cells. Although other studies have suggested that learning two languages simultaneously can cause delays in language milestones, the delays are short-term.
Here are the mental benefits for multilingual children:
- Children who learn a foreign language receive a boost in their general cognitive development. As a result, they perform better in standardized tests, are more creative, and demonstrate better self-esteem.
- Studies have also confirmed that students learning a second language perform better in other areas of study. For example, these students have better reading skills, math, and social studies.
- It is also apparent that students speaking a second language demonstrate better listening skills, sharper memories, and are also more creative. Studies have also shown that students learning a second language are better at solving complex problems and showcase superior cognitive flexibility.
Benefits of Learning a Second Language for Adults
Many adults participate in online brain training to sharpen their mental skills. However, learning a second language could be a more worthwhile use of your time. For example, when you speak a foreign language, it can boost your career and can also enrich your personal trips and interactions with others.
Additionally, when you compare multilingual adults to those that speak one language, there are glaring differences. For example:
- Multilingual people have superior overall intelligence.
- They also demonstrate better general cognitive abilities.
- They are better at planning, making decisions, and prioritizing.
- These individuals are more perceptive of their environment.
- They usually delay instant gratification for more long-term gains.
- They have a better memory.
- They demonstrate a better understanding of their native language.
Based on these benefits, it is apparent that learning a second language helps you use your brain more. Therefore, if you have started learning Spanish for beginners, you will be glad to learn that you will get more benefits than just a new language.
As A Bilingual, Your Brain Is Protected Against Aging
Another benefit of being bilingual as an adult is it helps you resist aging. According to studies, knowledge of a second language can delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s by up to four and a half years. This is better than Alzheimer’s drugs which usually slow the symptoms for up to 12 months.
Medical experts performed brain scans on multilingual individuals and noticed a difference in their brain activity. They discovered that the brains of bilingual seniors worked more efficiently. According to scientists, the brains of these seniors have more reserve mental capabilities, which have helped them compensate for memory loss caused by age.
Learning a New Language Builds a Better Brain
When you learn a new language, it increases the size of your brain’s language center. It also increases the density of grey matter and boosts blood flow to your brain. Studies have also shown that learning a new language also leads to an increase in the size of the hippocampus. Moreover, studies have also confirmed that the number of neural pathways between brain parts increases when you study a new language.
Globalization has led to an increase in the number of people looking to learn a second language. As a result, there are many online language learning platforms to help cater to this demand. So if you want to speak Spanish fluently, you can easily find an online platform with Spanish tutors for beginners.
Additionally, as you learn the second language, something will be happening to your brain. As mentioned in this piece, learning a second language has numerous benefits to young and adult brains. For example, you will have better memory, superior problem-solving skills, and improved creativity.
Ultimately, you become a better person when you learn a second language. Therefore, if you only speak one language, it would help to learn a second language.