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How does being bilingual affect your brain? It depends on how you use language

How does being bilingual affect your brain? It depends on how you use language
Why the benefits of bilingualism aren't consistent.


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Studies on suggest bilinguals and monolinguals

Studies on suggest bilinguals and monolinguals

Some research found speaking more than one language can potentially improve your cognitive processes. But other studies found that bilinguals and monolinguals perform similarly.

Some studies suggest bilinguals and monolinguals use the brain differently to complete an executive function task, even if the performances are similar. Other studies found differences in brain structure, but how these differences manifest is inconsistent.




Bilingualism comes in many shapes and forms

Being bilingual does affect your brain, but it depends on how you use it.

Some bilinguals learn a second language from birth. Others learn a second language much later. Some bilinguals continuously need to switch between their languages, while others speak one language at home and another at work. Different language experiences have distinct effects on how the brain adapts and performs. Moreover, these adaptations are dynamic with continued and changing experiences.




Benefits of learning a new language

Benefits of learning a new language

Research shows that it's important to "exercise" your brain. Learning a language is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Benefits of speaking or learning...

Neuroplasticity: The Brain’s Ability To Adapt

Neuroplasticity: The Brain’s Ability To Adapt

The human brain is not static, but is shape-shifting, upgrading, maintaining and housekeeping itself all the time.

The constant rewiring, adapting and upgrading is happenin...

The Reason For Neuroplasticity: Neuron Cells

While neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form fresh connections and to rewire itself, neurogenesis is the brain’s ability to grow new neurons.

Experiments in the 1960s discovered that traumatic events, stress and anxiety are detrimental to the neuron cells of the brain. This led to new understandings about the brain being a regenerative organ, where cells can regrow and replenish, also known as neurogenesis.

Principles Of Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity has two broad types:

  • Structural neuroplasticity: When the synapses or the strength of connections between neurons changes.
  • Functional neuroplasticity: When learning and development lead to permanent changes in the synapses.

Just like medications and chemicals change our brain, neuroplasticity has the potential to reinvent oneself and get over the traumatic events of the past. It has the power to dissolve our hardwired memories which are fear-based.

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Forgetting the First Language

While our brains are flexible and adaptable as children, we tend to start having more rigid learning and relearning skills as we grow old.

There have been some extreme cases when the mother t...

Trauma associated with a Language

One of the reasons for forgetting a language is the trauma associated with speaking a particular language: The mind recalls the bad experiences while the language is heard or spoken.

The Switch Mechanism

Once a person is able to speak two or more languages, the mind has to create a mechanism to switch between those seamlessly.

Switching a language is not like forgetting, but if there is too much back and forth, the competition starts between the two languages.