S. T. Fleming

Language. Education. Literacy. Creation.

Benefits of Being Bilingual

I have been collecting a list of the “Benefits of Being Bilingual” and I would like to share the ideas I have found so far…  Please add others as you find them

*People who are bilingual have an advantage over the rest of us, and not just in terms of communication skills. The bilingual brain develops more densely, giving it an advantage in various abilities and skills, according to new research….bilingual speakers had denser gray matter compared with monolingual participants…the structure of the human brain is altered by the experience of acquiring a second language (webmd.com)

*The advantages of bilingualism in promoting overall cognitive development. Three major explanations for this improved development are proposed: that (1) the bilingual-bicultural child experiences the world from two different perspectives, increasing his awareness and moving him away from a limited, egocentric point of view; (2) the code-switching process inherent in bilingualism facilitates development of a more flexible approach to cognitive problems; and (3) the bilingual’s metalinguistic awareness or objectification of language promotes higher levels of abstract thinking and concept formation. (eric.gov)

*5 and 6 year-olds who are bilingual “manifest a cognitive system with the ability to attend to important information and ignore the less important.” Ellen Bialystok (latino.fox.news)

*Research suggests that bilingual people can hold Alzheimer’s disease at bay for longer, and that bilingual children are better at prioritising tasks and multitasking (www.science-news.eu)

*So we have monolinguals solving a problem, and they use X systems, but when bilinguals solve the same problem, they use others. One of the things we’ve seen is that on certain kinds of even nonverbal tests, bilingual people are faster. Why? Well, when we look in their brains through neuroimaging, it appears like they’re using a different kind of a network that might include language centers to solve a completely nonverbal problem. Their whole brain appears to rewire because of bilingualism. New York Times

  • Cognitive benefits: The bilingual people can have some specific advantages in thinking. They have two or more words for each idea and object. Hence, a bilingual person can develop a creative thinking and an ability to think more flexibly. The bilinguals are aware about which language should be spoken with which person in a particular situation. Therefore, they are more sensitive to the needs of the listener than the monolingual people. Being bilingual has a positive effect on intellectual growth. It enhances and enriches a person’s mental development. The latest research has proved that the bilinguals are better at IQ tests as compared to the monolinguals.
  • Character advantages: The bilinguals are able to switch between different languages and talk to different people in various languages. It increases a sense of self-esteem. Being bilingual creates a powerful link in different people from different countries.
  • Curriculum benefits: A bilingual education offers better curriculum results. The bilinguals tend to show a higher performance in examinations and tests. It is associated with thinking benefits of bilingualism. The bilinguals find it quite easy to learn and speak three, four or more languages.
  • Communication advantages: The bilinguals enjoy reading and writing in different languages. They can understand and appreciate literatures in various languages. It gives a deeper knowledge of different ideas and traditions. It helps improve the ways of thinking and behaving. The pleasures of reading poetry, novels and magazines as well as the enjoyment of writing to family and friends are doubled for bilinguals. They don’t face difficulties in communication while in a foreign country.
  • Cultural advantages: Bilingualism offers an access and exposure to different cultures. Knowledge of different languages offers a treasure of traditional and contemporary sayings, idioms, history and folk stories, music, literature and poetry in different cultures. Due to a wider cultural experience, there is a greater tolerance of differences in creeds and customs.
  • Employment benefits: Being bilingual offers potential employment benefits. It offers a wider choice of jobs in various fields. The bilinguals can get prosperous career opportunities in the retail sector, transport, tourism, administration, secretarial work, public relations, marketing and sales, banking and accountancy, translation, law and teaching.  (www.buzzle.com)

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