There is a long, long list of benefits to knowing more than one language.
Beyond the obvious communication advantages, bilingual people benefit from a wider choice of jobs at a higher pay, from character advantages (increased self-esteem from being able to talk to people in different languages), cultural advantages, and cognitive advantages.
It is this last category that just received a big boost from recent Canadian studies that showed that the act of speaking two or more languages allows those people to better deal with the early symptoms of Alzheimer's and other memory-robbing diseases.
According to Building a More Resilient Brain in The Wall Street Journal:
A lifetime of speaking two or more languages appears to pay off in old age, with recent research showing the symptoms of dementia can be delayed by an average of four years in bilingual people.
Knowing this, should you rush out to learn as many languages as possible to affect further delays?
Well, first off all, speaking two languages isn't a silver bullet. It doesn't prevent Alzheimer's, it only delays it's average onset. And while researchers know that being bilingual is helpful, they aren't sure that being multilingual does anything more.
So instead of trying to beat dementia with multiple languages, do a daily crossword puzzle or delay your retirement.
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Categories: off topic