The Brain Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Learning a second language offers proven benefits for intelligence, memory, and concentration and lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Understanding language is one of the hardest things your brain does.

The benefits of learning a second language seem, in fact, to be proportional to the effort expended by the brain.

Because language is complex, speaking or learning a foreign language gives your brain a good workout.

It’s good brain exercise that makes the brain stronger.

It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when raising children in a bilingual home was believed to stunt their intellectual growth.

Experts thought their brains would become confused and that it might even contribute to schizophrenia or split identities.

But times have changed.

We now understand that precisely the opposite is true.

It’s now known that learning another language is one of the most effective and practical ways to increase intelligence, keep your mind sharp, and buffer your brain against aging.

Here are the ways that speaking or learning a second language can benefit your brain, no matter your age.

Being Bilingual Improves Cognitive Skills and Overall Brain Function

A lot of research has been done on the effects of learning and speaking languages.

People who speak two or more languages have significantly better overall cognitive abilities than those who speak one.

Compared to people that speak one language, adults who speak multiple languages are more likely to:

  • have higher general intelligence
  • be better at planning, prioritizing, and decision making
  • score higher on standardized math, reading, and vocabulary tests
  • be more perceptive of their surroundings
  • avoid falling for marketing hype
  • understand others’ points of view
  • have better focus, concentration, and attention
  • delay immediate gratification in the pursuit of long-term goals
  • have better memory and memorization skills, including better working memory
  • exhibit mental flexibility
  • switch between tasks quickly
  • be creative
  • have good listening skills