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The benefits of being multilingual

posted by Hannah on Monday, 30 May 2016

According to a recent study carried out by the British Council, speaking more than one language fluently has many cognitive benefits.

It has been estimated that more than half the world’s population uses two or more languages every day. In 2012, a Eurobarometer survey established that just over half of Europeans (54%) are bilingual.

You may already have started to learn a new language, or perhaps you are considering starting a course. If so, it may certainly benefit you in the longer term.

What are the benefits of being bilingual?

If you are bilingual, you will be skilled in handling two languages at the same time. This ability develops cognitive responsiveness, such as switching attention and working memory. This is because being bilingual means that you will already be familiar with the process of switching between two languages.

Studies also show that people who are multilingual also have a higher density of grey matter. Being bilingual is particularly beneficial for older people, as this can lead to better-maintained white matter in the brain.

Learning a new language requires stimulating mental activity, which can also help maintain cognitive functions. Studies have shown that this can delay the onset of symptoms in people who have been diagnosed with dementia, often by as much as five years.

Evidence suggests that being bilingual is beneficial in a wide range of ways. It is also worth remembering that developing additional language skills can benefit you both socially and economically.

If your second language is English, you may wish to study our Oxbridge Home Learning Basic English Skills distance learning course. This will further develop the language skills that you may already be using every day and enable you to gain a better understanding of the principles and practice of written and spoken English. If you are already on track but feel you need a little extra help from an expert tutor you could consider our Intermediate English course.

Both English courses are ideal for individuals who would like to develop and enhance their English skills and can be studied individually or sequentially.