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Speaking two or more languages comes with a whole host of benefits.
A growing body of research has focused on the psychological, economic, and health benefits of being bilingual. Here are ten practical benefits of bilingualism.
Studies found those who are bilingual find it much easier to learn a third or fourth language.
Even discounting other factors, like differences in IQ, reading abilities or other cognitive aspects, bilingualism is a causal factor in increasing the chances of being able to learn a new language quickly.
Bilinguals have to constantly multitask linguistically. When they have to function in a world outside their first or native language, they have to switch, shift, and process different languages in real-time.
However, a study found that bilinguals are better at non-linguistic multitasking too.
Empathy is the ability to relate to someone else and to see things from their perspective.
A major research review concludes that acquiring "two languages helps Theory of Mind development, meaning you have the ability to attribute mental states to other people and to predict and explain other people’s behaviour on the basis of those attributed mental states.
Entering into a different linguistic system makes it easier to enter another’s mind.
If you are more empathetic, you'll be more likeable too because the Theory of Mind helps develop prosocial behaviours.
Children who develop an advanced Theory of Mind are better at conversations, more socially mature, and often rated as popular in class.
The language you speak helps determine how you interpret actions. You can flip-flop between focusing on the act (such as walking) or the goal of the act (why someone is walking).
Bilinguals interpret aspects of the world according to whichever language they are speaking.
Bilinguals are likelier to get paid more over the course of their life.
An article in The Economist showed that being bilingual would increase your salary by two per cent over 40 years. The effects are more marked depending on what language you can speak. German can boost earnings by 3.8%, and Arabic speakers in the UK have salaries 74% higher, on average.
The more a local area, state, or country can speak another language, the greater its economic output.
According to a huge meta-analysis of studies on the topic, speaking multiple languages
Bilinguals are better at certain executive functions, such as moving between different types of brain activation.
For example, in the "Stroop test", you have to read words for colours (like "red" or "orange") that are written in the same or different colours.
Being able to speak another language is sexy. It's exotic, mysterious, and intelligent.
Research shows that the most attractive languages are Italian, Portuguese and French. The least attractive were Dutch, German, and Japanese.
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