Have you ever thought about learning a second or third language? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard that mastering a new language can boost your confidence, introduce you to a new culture or even land you a job.
There’s even evidence that speaking two or more languages offers cognitive benefits. The brains of bilingual and multilingual people function, and even age, differently than those of single-language speakers.
Learn another language and:
You can delay Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Recent research suggests that learning a second language can protect against different kinds of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, researchers found that bilingual people developed dementia an average 4 1/2 years later than those who spoke only one language.
Even better: You don’t have to be perfectly fluent in that second language. Just trying to learn one can help.
You can improve your memory.
It’s often said that the brain is like a muscle: The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. While that may not be exactly true, it turns out that working memory, also called short-term memory, can be improved by learning another language.
Studies show that bilingual children have better working memory than their monolingual peers and are better at remembering lists or sequences.
You can make better decisions.
Speaking another language changes how people weigh their options. Researchers in one study found that bilingual subjects tended to make more rational decisions in their second language. They concluded that when using another language, people are less influenced by biases.
Ready to boost your brain?
Are you ready to learn a new language, but wondering where to start? If so, you’re in luck.
ShareAmerica offers a series of everyday conversations, with audio clips, to help practice English. Once you’ve learned the basics, make your English sound more American with idioms derived from animals, food and soccer.