The Bilingual Brain

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Our brains have ‘auto-correct’ to handle tricky sounds

A study by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee found that bilingual youth were more successful at dividing objects by shape and color versus their monolingual peers who struggled when the second characteristic sorting by shape was added. These tasks include switching attention from one thing to another and holding information in mind, like remembering a sequence of directions when getting ready for school in the morning or, for adults, driving a car. While it may be easier for young children to pick up a second language, there are benefits for adults as well.


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Researchers found that young adults who knew two languages performed better on attention tests and had better concentration compared to those who only spoke one language. They also respond faster or more accurately than their monolingual peers, according to Kapa and Colombo, This is largely because of the workout our brain receives while switching back and forth between one language and another when deciding how to communicate.


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  • It allows us to focus better during a lecture and remember relevant information. On average, the disease is delayed by four years compared to monolinguals. Do not fear that learning two languages will confuse or distract your child.

    Remember, their brains are flexible, and the skills develop beyond learning a second language is immeasurable. Bilingual children learn that an object stays the same even though the object has a different name in a different language object permanence. For example, a foot remains a foot in English as well as French.

    Studies have also repeatedly shown that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity and flexibility of mind.

    Benefits of a Bilingual Brain

    Speaking more than one language is like exercise for the brain? Delaying dementia is a possibility? Finally, watch Bilingual Brains Are Better! Love all this brain talk?

    How Different is a Bilingual Brain?

    Want to learn another language or two or three or There's an app for that! Duolingo lets your learn dozens of languages for free right on your phone. Share: facebook twitter reddit whatsapp email.

    Is being bilingual is a common part of your community? Is it supported by peers and adults around View discussion.

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    More on the agenda. Explore context. Explore the latest strategic trends, research and analysis.

    Bilingual is better (and here’s why)

    Countless studies have argued the case for bilingualism. For example, in one study, an adult asked a child to pass them a small toy car.

    Have you read? The best time to learn a new language? In other words, the brain is notoriously complex and enigmatic. Featured: Education and Skills View all. How private investment can boost education access and quality in the digital economy Jennifer Wong 17 Sep This is where teachers are paid the most Joe Myers 13 Sep Social skills are just as important as basic cognitive ones.