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Are there Benefits of Being Bilingual?
There has been a lot of research on bilingualism over the years. Many studies have found many benefits of being bilingual, or being able to speak more than one language. A trait that was once considered a hindrance, has now proved to have so many advantages for both children and adults.
Benefits of Being Bilingual Infographic
10 Benefits of Being Bilingual
Here are 10 amazing benefits of being bilingual!
1. Being bilingual has positive effects on the brain
Studies show that being bilingual has many cognitive benefits. According to research, speaking a second language can mean that you have a better attention span and can multi-task better than monolinguals. This is because being bilingual means you are constantly switching from one language to the other. Numerous other studies suggest that bilingualism can also reduce the risk of having a stroke.
Cognitive benefits effect both bilingual kids and bilingual adults. Children as young as seven months who are exposed to more than one language tend to adjust better to changes in the environment. For older bilinguals, there tends to be less cognitive decline.
2. Bilingualism gives you the educational advantage
Many of the cognitive benefits mentioned above can also mean that bilinguals have an advantage at school or further education. Many studies show that those who speak a second language are more likely to be less distracted and more focused on tasks.
Even bilingual children who are educated in their second language, have actually been seen to outperform monolingual students in their native language.
The recent Millennum Cohort Study found many educational benefits for bilingual children. Their research showed that even though children who are educated in their second language may initially lag behind around three, four and five years old, they soon catch up and outperform their peers by age seven.
3. Languages are highly valued in the workplace
Speaking a second language has numerous employment benefits. Being bilingual means that there are more job opportunities depending on which languages you speak. Communication in the workplace is important, and more companies, especially those with international offices, are considering bilingualism a high priority.
Fast growing fields such as tourism, journalism and translation put great value on bilingual employees. Additional languages on the resume could have your application moved to the top of the pile and give you a better chance at getting the job, even if you aren’t as qualified as another monolingual applicant.
4. Being Bilingual has been linked to health benefits
There have been many studies proving that being bilingual can benefit ones health. Researches recently found that there is growing evidence to suggest that bilingualism can delay the onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for example. Other benefits of being bilingual include things such as a faster stroke recovery, lower stress levels, and delay many effects of old to name a few.
5. Speaking more than one language makes you more open minded
Have you ever heard the bilingual quote:
“To have another language is to possess a second soul” - Charlemagne?
One of the benefits of being bilingual can mean that you see the world in different ways. Some even say that speaking two different languages can sometimes feel like having two different personalities.
Bilinguals are used to constant change. This means that they are usually less effected by changes in the environment, and more open minded to new things and new experiences, because they have more than one view of the world already.
6. Speaking a foreign language can be highly beneficial when you travel
Of course you can get around many countries without speaking the language. However, think of how much more you can experience if you speak the local language of the place you are visiting.
No need for a phrase book or a translation app on the phone. Being able to communicate with the locals and immerse yourself in the language and culture can make your travel experience so much more enjoyable.
7. Being Bilingual opens up new social opportunities
Bilinguals can make friends in more than one language meaning more opportunities to meet new people, and enjoy different hobbies and activities. Being able to communicate with people from other cultures is a huge social advantage and can open up so many more doors in life.
8. Knowing more than one language helps you to learn additional languages
An amazing benefit of being bilingual is that you can learn additional languages more easily that monolinguals. This is because language skills reinforce each other. So if you have learned a second language already, then learning a third means transferring those skills over.
9. Being bilingual means you can raise bilingual kids
What better advantage, than being able to pass on your languages to your own children so they can reap the benefits of being bilingual too! Give your children the best start in life and raise them bilingual from birth. Your bilingual kids can then have bilingual kids of their own and languages can be passed on through generations.
10. You are not the minority if you are bilingual
One of the biggest misconceptions is that bilingualism is a rare phenomenon. But, in fact being bilingual means you are NOT the minority.
More than half the world speaks more than one language on a daily basis. In many countries around the world, bilingualism is actually considered the norm, and I'm sure it won't be long until the rest of the world catches on. Everyone should have the chance to learn a second language and reap the benefits of being bilingual.