Benefits of bilingualism

This article from “1843”, The Economist‘s culture magazine, has many insights about raising children to be bilingual and also about becoming bilingual (or at least functionally bilingual) as an adult.

A few possible benefits:

  • Bilingual people succumb to dementia an average of 4 years later than monolingual people.
  • Bilingual people recover more quickly from strokes.
  • They are able to plan and complete complicated tasks more quickly than monolingua people.

And I really liked this part:

“Languages learned imperfectly in adulthood – like my Danish – have not shown this effect in the lab. But they may still open the mind to other perspectives. Learning a second language as an adult is usefully humbling: there is nothing quite like being corrected by a three-year-old native speaker. A second language acts as a constant reminder that other people have different knowledge, different points of view from one’s own.”

In other words, bilingual people are likely to be more open-minded and flexible.

Read the rest for more insights.


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