Many of us come from homes where our first language is Spanish because our parents only spoke Spanish when we were children. As time passes by, we begin focusing on our studies and don’t feel the need to study Spanish, since we already can speak it. Unfortunately, when we don’t use Spanish as much and can get away with speaking Spanglish, the language is lost. Many of us can get by, just speaking a little bit of Spanish, but are there any benefits to being bilingual?
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The brain’s left hemisphere is more dominant in analytical and logical processes and the right hemisphere is more active in emotional and social ones. Language involves both types of functions. When children learn a second language, they do so more easily because the plasticity of their developing brain lets them use both hemispheres when they’re learning a language. When you’re an adult you only use the left hemisphere when you’re learning a language, but even so, there are many advantages.
Benefits of Being Bilingual
- Work Place: Being bilingual creates great opportunities in the workplace and in many fields you can earn a higher salary than those that only speak one language.
- Delays Dementia and Alzheimer’s: The average age for the first signs of dementia for people that only speak one language is 71.4, while for those that know two languages or more, it’s 75 and a half.
- Great at Multi-tasking: One of the advantages of being bilingual is that you could go from speaking one language to switching to English in seconds. This makes bilingual people excellent at multi-tasking.
- Better Focus: Grey matter is responsible for processing language, as well as remembering things. Bilingual people have a denser gray matter than those that only know one language.
- Better Decision Making: Bilingual people are better at making decisions and often think them over in their second language. It’s like having a built in second opinion.
- Smarter Children: Children can pick up a language fast and when they’re bilingual they’ll do well in school because they’ll have advanced thinking skills, be good at math, and even learn how to read faster.