SPEAKING two languages than just one has obvious practical in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you . It can have a profound on your brain, improving cognitive not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.
This view of bilingualism is different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that a child’s academic and intellectual development.
They were not wrong about the interference: there is evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, creating situations in which one system the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that its cognitive muscles.