5 Benefits of Being Multilingual

Are you a bilingual? Trilingual? or even a Multilingual? As we know, the number of people who can speak multiple languages around us are gradually increasing—especially for people who have diverse backgrounds. Bilingual people are almost everywhere, with mostly people who fluently speaks english and a language from their own culture. According to recent studies, it’s difficult to know the specific number of people who are multilingual, but it’s estimated that over the half of the population in the world are multilingual to some extent.

Image taken from newyorker.com

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

ludwig wittgenstein, Austrian-british philosopher.

So what does it feel to be multilingual? Let’s see what other multilingual people think:

What are other benefits of being able to speak multiple languages or learning a new language?

1.Improve intelligence

Mastering different languages require a strong ability to switch from one language to another. This ability needs highly concentration on the language that one is currently using, and restrain from using other languages in the meantime. Normally, multilingual people could use this ability on almost every field, not only on language field. Thus, people who could speak multiple languages normally own a brain that is more flexible, intelligent from others. They are better at solving logics and give consideration to two or more events at the same time while ignoring unnecessary signals.

Image taken from GettyImages

2.Develop better memory

Knowing two or more languages helps the brain with processing information about the surroundings more effectively, which makes one a fast learner. Also,  Magali Perquin, PhD, along with researchers at the Center for Health Studies from the Public Research Center for Health (“CRP-Santé”) in Luxembourg studied 230 men and women with an average age of 73 who had spoken or currently spoke two to seven languages. Only 44 of the study participants (19%) had memory problems. This indicates that people who speak more than two languages during their lifetime might be at reduced risk of developing memory problems as they age.

Image taken from stemlittleexplorers.com

3.Less mental decline in old age

According to Brian Gold, a neuroscientist at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington, knowing two or more languages can reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s and postpone dementia by an average of five years. Meantime, it is found that bilingual patients who has Alzheimers’ tend to display less decay in cognitive abilities than monolingual patients.

Image taken from palliativecare.org.au

4.Become better at building relationships with others

It is obvious that speaking different languages allows you to connect with people from different backgrounds and win attraction easily. But there is also a more subtle impact behind that. That is, when we are continually switching amongst several languages, we might also have a shift in values and feelings through different languages. Some bilinguals expressed that they have two different personalities when using two different languages. Indeed, different languages and cultures influence what we think and how we act. We are immersed in the environment and culture that one specific language gives us, immersed in how those people think, act, or even eat everyday. It is a great thing, as it improves your ability to understand others better, be more empathetic, and even communicate better, which effectively improves your relationships with others.

Image taken from minutes.co

5.More career prospects

Mastering two or more languages can drastically increase the chance of you getting hired. There are currently countless jobs that require people who are able to speak certain languages, and it is always better if you speak more languages. What’s better, a recent survey proved that bilinguals in the US also tend to earn at least $7000 more annually compared to monolingual counterparts with the same kind of work experience. 

Image taken from http://www.success.com

It can’t go wrong to know more languages, try explore a language that you are interested in during this boring circuit breaker period!

Author: Christine(Qiao) Li

Christine (Qiao) Li is currently a senior and this is her first year working for The Eye. She is from China and spent most of her childhood there, but came to Singapore several years ago. In her freetime, she likes to get involved in music and arts, listen to music and drink bubble tea. She can be contacted at li48695@sas.edu.sg.

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