What are the 5 benefits of being bilingual?
Despite the common apprehensions regarding bilingualism, studies show that learning two languages is highly beneficial for brain function. According to Spitzer (2016), speaking a second language can mean you have a better attention span and are better at multitasking than monolinguals. These skills are honed by constantly switching from one language to another. Fortunately, today more and more people of all ages and backgrounds are learning languages. Less than half of the world’s population restricts themselves to a single language. So what are monolinguals missing out on?
Here are 5 benefits of being bilingual
- Improves cognitive skills
Learning a language is among the best ways to keep your brain healthy and strong. Bilingualism can improve a person’s ability to multitask, regulate attention, solve problems, and showcase creativity by boosting cognitive ability. It can also help improve your memory, helpful in shopping and remembering people’s names!
- Offers academic advantage.
Klein (2015) showed that bilingual children could outperform monolingual children in many subjects. Bilingualism can help improve a child’s academic development, cognitive functioning, social skills, literacy, and emotional skills, with positive effects for many years.
- Gives rise to awareness of other cultures.
Being bilingual exposes a person to various traditions and ideas and offers perspectives from different cultures. Of course, learning about a culture without learning its language is possible, but doing so makes for a more immersive experience.
- It makes traveling more accessible and enjoyable.
If you are or want to be a globetrotter, learning languages is a must! Traveling is much more fun and much more manageable without language barriers. You can have a more enjoyable and authentic experience. You can talk directly with the locals and make new friends. Knowing what food to order without pointing to pictures and asking for directions if you get lost is worth the effort (Valian, 2015).
- Improves perception in the job market.
Speaking a second language can provide more employment opportunities depending on your language. Communication in the workplace is a widely-sought skill with more and more companies, especially those with international offices, placing a higher value on bilingualism. Being able to communicate with foreign customers or clients is considered to be a great advantage.
Most people live with the misconception that being bilingual is a rare phenomenon. However, in many countries worldwide, bilingualism is considered normal (Pearson, 2009). Everyone should be able to learn a second language and enjoy the benefits of bilingualism. If you want to indulge in a new language, we recommend you dive into this treasure of resources explicitly designed to promote bilingualism. For instance, The Adventures of Fili, available in multiple languages, should offer you all the support you require while embarking on your bilingual adventures.
Klein, R. M. (2015). Is there a benefit of bilingualism for executive functioning?. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18(1), 29-31.
Pearson, B. Z. (2009). Children with two languages. The Cambridge handbook of child language, 380-382.
Spitzer, M. (2016). Bilingual benefits in education and health. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 5(2), 67-76.
Valian, V. (2015). Bilingualism and cognition: A focus on mechanisms. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18(1), 47-50.