Being bilingual can improve mental fitness
A recent university study supports the concept that being bilingual makes people more focussed and mentally fit.
Less than a month ago Talking Heads ran a news article surrounding language studies being at an all time low with this matter potentially affecting the UK economy, with an estimated £50bn a year lost in contracts due to lack of language skills in Britain The figures, though saddening, aren’t surprising seeing as 62% of British adults can only speak English.
Not only does the use of languages affect the British economy, in learning only one language, people are reducing the potential to increase their mental fitness.
A recent study by Anglia Ruskin University has shown that being bilingual can have a huge impact on mental ability. Apart from the fact that bilingual speakers are able to focus on tasks easier compared to monolingual speakers, having these skills can also reduce the onset of dementia. The findings of the study state that learning more than one language makes humans more focussed, proving to be better at answering questions when constant noise is in the background.
Although the study was relatively small (40 pupils) the results supported other earlier studies in showing that bilinguals are better at suppressing distracting information. The Economist, who ran the story, have stated that more research is needed to explicitly show the advantages as conflicting evidence of the benefits of being bilingual was apparent.
Yet even though research is in early stages, the results of the study have been positively accepted with the article advertising the benefits of learning a new language ‘Perhaps selling bilingualism as an elite, varied exercise—a kind of Crossfit of the mind—might convince more parents to give it a try.’
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