Are you trying to raise a bilingual child? Or are you fluent yourself in two languages?
Many studies have shown that being bilingual can be very useful for your career, in terms of earning potential and job opportunities. But this is just the tip of the iceberg as there many other advantages of speaking two languages fluently
In this article I will talk about the various several health, cultural and social benefits of being bilingual.
1) Diversity and Integration
Speaking a second language can help bilingual speakers integrate and fit in, particularly if you live in city where many people live in households where more than language is spoken.
As a London resident, I live in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world.
Therefore, it’s highly likely Mia will go to a school with other children who speak more than one language. This will undoubtedly help her feel more at home in a diverse school environment where languages other than English will be spoken.
2) Social & Cultural Opportunities
Bilingual pupils will find it easier to interact and make friends with children of different cultures. This is incredibly useful as they will grow up with a better understanding of people, which will undoubtedly help when they enter the world of work.
Furthermore, bilingual speakers may understand the subtleties of foreign music, food, cinema and literature much better.
3) Useful For Travelling
I’m sure we’ve all been there before.
You’re on holiday in a foreign country, trying desperately to use sign language to communicate with a cashier or shop owner 🙂
The old joke is that if they don’t understand you…shout louder!
Knowing the lingo in a foreign country surely makes things easier for you, and for the person you’re speaking to.
Travel can also be more fun when you understand the language of the place you are visiting.
You can engage more with the local people…
..not to mention saving on the costs of hiring a tour guide!
4) Gives You A New Perspective
Being bilingual can make you see the world in a different way, and even possess different personalities in each language.
In fact, some research has suggested it’s possible they see colours differently too!
Also, learning a new language gives you better insight of your native language. This is because you get to compare what is different between the two languages and express yourself better.
Although I am nowhere near being bilingual, I studied French at school to a reasonable level and I can speak Russian fairly well. I can definitely say there is something in the idea of different personalities.
When I speak Russian, I am more direct and assertive, which is generally how Russians are when they speak. Where as in English, it can often take us a while to get to the point!
Therefore, bilingualism is a way to understand yourself better and behave differently in certain situations.
A useful trait I think you’d agree!
5) Empathy and Communication Skills
There is a train of thought that bilingual children demonstrate social empathy quicker than others who only speak one language.
Also, they are able to better interpret what people REALLY mean when they speak to them.
Psychologists at the University of Chicago have discovered that even children who weren’t bilingual but had some exposure to a foreign language early in life had a better understanding of others
These skills can help with making friends, and getting on with people.
6) Makes You More Attractive?
This can make it easier to find that special someone!
For English speakers, the French language is viewed as the most attractive language, and also the sexiest foreign accent to hear English spoken in.
7) Health Benefits Of Being Bilingual
Finally there are various studies which indicate there are numerous health benefits of bilingualism, with most of them helping you in later life.
Speaking another language seems to slow the effects of old age in terms of brain function.
My dad has recently started to learn Russian, as a way to keep his brain active now he’s retired…
..although he hasn’t quite picked up the pronunciation yet J
Do you agree with all these social, cultural and health benefits of being bilingual?
Are you bilingual? Or like me are you trying to raise your child to speak two languages. I would love to hear from you and if you agree or disagree with any of these points.
Please leave any comments below.