Bilingual, Dutch, English

Bilingualism: Keep the Brain Trained for Old Age

As we age wouldn’t it be great to stay mentally
active as well as physically? Bilingualism may well be
the answer
Photo Credit:John Boyer

When we bring up bilingual children, we are not just giving them the gift of communication in more than one language, we are giving them the gift of efficient, quick working brains.

No really. I kid you not. Recent research showed that those in their 60s who had been raised speaking two languages could quickly move from one task to the other with almost an automatic action. People from the same age group who are monolingual reacted much slower to a change of task and had to use much more of their brain and effort to carry out the switch from one task to another.

It has been thought for some time that bilingualism slows down some ageing processes and helps slow down the onset of dementia in an ageing brain. This latest research may explain why. In essence being bilingual means that your brain is trained from an early age to switch from one task to another i.e. it switches from one language to another automatically. Two languages are always active in a bilingual person’s brain. This early and constant training seems to make the brain work more efficiently when it comes to task changing. Bilingualism is brain training from an early age!

Yet one more reason to bring up bilingual children……


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