The Main Benefits of Multilingualism
Multilingualism is popular and a personal goal for many of us. What exactly makes multilingualism so special? What are the main benefits of multilingualism? In our most recent blog article, you will find out about the advantages of speaking various languages.
No matter what sector you work in or what walk of life you are currently on, learning multiple additional languages can kick start your career and benefit your overall well being. Learning and knowing several languages sharpens the mind and improves memory. It even acts as a protection against various diseases such as Alzheimers or dementia.
A study published by researchers at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona revealed that multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings. They investigated the differences between bilingual and monolingual people by observing structural images of both types of brains. They can easily detect anything that is irrelevant or deceptive. They’re also better than their monolingual peers at identifying misleading information.
Another study conducted in Luxembourg investigated the protective effect of multilingualism on cognition in seniors and found that “practicing multilingualism from early life on, and/or learning it at a fast pace is even more efficient. This protection might be related to the enhancement of cognitive reserve and brain plasticity, thereby preserving brain functions from alterations during aging.”
Improvement of Ability to Multitask
Being able to speak in multiple languages allows you to perform better in many ways. A study by a cognitive scientist at Pennsylvania State University found that multilingual people who can juggle languages are more proficient at multitasking. As multilingual people are used to switching between different systems of speech and grammar, they are able to switch between multiple tasks faster. Another study by Ellen Bialystok, from Toronto’s York University shows that bilingual children are better at prioritizing tasks than monolinguals.
Improvement of Communication Skills
Research shows that exposure to multiple languages enhances communication skills. As illustrated in a study by Liberman F. et al., children growing up in multilingual environments were better at understanding other people’s perspectives, a driver for good communication. Multilingualism can also bring heightened sensitivity towards cultural awareness. Speaking different languages makes you more open to dialogue with other cultures and allows you to talk directly to people from other countries and backgrounds, which improves intercultural communication skills. Furthermore, learning a new language with all the important grammar rules that come with the language learning process can help you better understand your native language. A lot of us learn the rules of our mother tongue through "intuitive absorption". While learning a different language we can apply or compare the new rules with what we already know. The benefit of becoming better acquainted with your native language includes becoming a better communicator.
by: Céline Bouverat and Chris Aguilar
Burgaleta, M. et al. (2016). Bilingualism at the core of the brain. Structural differences between bilinguals and monolinguals revealed by subcortical shape analysis, NeuroImage. Doi: 10.1016 /j.neuroimage.2015.09.073
Liberman, Z. et al. (2016). Exposure to multiple languages enhances communication skills in infancy, PubMed Central. Doi: 10.1111/desc.12420
Klein, D. et al. (2014). Age of language learning shapes brain structure: A cortical thickness study of bilingual and monolingual individuals. Brain and Language, 131, 20-24. Doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.05.014
Perquin, M. et al. (2013). Lifelong Exposure to Multilingualism: New Evidence to Support Cognitive Reserve Hypothesis. PLoS One, 2013, e62030. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062030
Scientific American (2011). Being Multilingual Helps with Multitasking. Retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/being-multilingual-helps-with-multi-11-02-18/
Gong Communications (2021). WHY COMMUNICATORS SHOULD EMBRACE MULTILINGUALISM. Retrieved from: https://gongcommunications.com/why-communicators-should-embrace-multilingualism/