Many people are aware of some advantages of learning new languages . Most of these strengths, however, are related to the application of the language skills that have been acquired during this process.
Advantages Of Speaking Several Languages (Being Polylingual Is Good!)
In spite of that, some scientific studies suggest that a large part of these advantages of bilingualism could be found beyond the scope of languages. Specifically, it seems that the simple exercise of learning and speaking of several languages makes our brains more functional, useful, or skilled in some aspects. These are four of the reasons why it is good to master more than one language:
1- It Encourages Creativity
On the one hand, there is scientific evidence that could indicate that bilingualism positively affects the development of a creative mind. This could be explained because the fact of thinking from two or more ways of coding our mental representations favors the appearance of a kind of non-linear, that is, creative thinking.
This kind of “lateral” thinking is characterized by jumping beyond a single cognitive scheme; a scheme that allows our perception of the world but also makes it more hermetic and closed in on itself.
2- Improve Attention Control
At the same time, another study points out that bilingualism helps to shape a brain with greater capacity to pay attention to what is important and inhibit distractions, in the same way, that it allows relatively easily changing from one object of attention to another.
This can also translate into greater facilities to reach a good level of performance in any voluntary activity, especially if it takes place in a complex and changing environment. It is possible that this improvement in attention management is due to the continuous exercise of “filtering” that bilinguals have to do when they can give an idea with a very broad repertoire of words in several languages.
3- Mitigate The Symptoms Of Dementia
There are also data that support the capacity of bilingual persons to delay and alleviate the symptoms of dementia. Although dementia supposes the degradation of brain tissue and the fact of having mastered several languages, creates alternative neuronal circuits, in the absence of the connections that have been disappearing due to dementia and can help to maintain a level of adaptation to the outside for a longer time.
4- Improved Control Of Executive Tasks
Finally, there is evidence about better control over novel tasks that have to be solved by reasoning. Bilinguals are more likely to face problems that can only be solved by applying new rules, that is, to carry out activities that are not familiar enough for our brain to have automated. In this particular study, bilinguals showed greater performance in solving mathematical problems to which they were unfamiliar.