As a former middle/high school French teacher, articles about language learning always catch my attention — pretty cool that there is a health benefit linked to studying a foreign language!
“Being bilingual is good for your brain – and can even fend off Alzheimer’s Disease, says one of the world’s leading experts in the subject.
According to psychologist Ellen Bialystok of York University in Canada, “the benefits of bilingualism increase with its duration and the more you practise it, the better it is”.
All bilingual children experience similar benefits, she told Le Figaro.
These include an ability to perform in a noisy environment due to skill at separating out different sounds and greater mental flexibility including enhanced ability with all tasks requiring “complex thoughts”.
A researcher at the Paris-Descartes University, Ranka Bijeljac-Babic, backed the findings. “Being bilingual helps you to pass from one piece of information to another, to change the centre of your attention,” she said.
However Professor Bialystok said “the most surprising discovery of recent years” is the way that bilingualism holds back Alzheimer’s, “significantly” – by more than five years on average.
Ms Bijeljac-Babic said the latest thinking is there is no need to follow the “one parent, one language” approach.”