Bilingual people are smarter
It is well known that knowledge of foreign languages opens up new opportunities - be it when looking for a job or when expanding your circle of friends. A very insightful article in the New York Times goes even further and states that being bilingual is good for the brain and makes you smarter.
People who only speak one language differ from those who speak two languages, mainly because of their ability to switch quickly or, as the article says, “the increased ability to perceive their environment”. Bilingual people can adapt to and accept new rules more quickly, even those that have nothing to do with language. The article cites various studies in which toddlers and infants growing up bilingual (who have significant access to another language) are compared with monolingual subjects. The children were given puzzles or tasks where the rules were changed. It showed that bilingual children were generally more open-minded and were more likely to accept these rule changes.
Bilingualism also seems to prevent senile dementia. The higher the level of bilingualism, the more lasting the result, i.e. the earlier a person starts learning, the better they will improve their cognitive functions.
You can read the entire article here: NY TIMES
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