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Being Bilingual Good for the Brain

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In the modern world, there are many benefits if you are bilingual (or even multilingual). For example, children who speak two languages score higher in math. Or in the business world, employees who speak more two or more languages tend to get a higher salary. However, did you know that bilingualism benefits the brain too?

More and more scientists have realized that speaking two or more languages is a good thing. Two languages provide frequent exercise for the portion of the brain which is responsible for thought and problem-solving skills. As a result, you have a better memory and decision-making skills.

There's more, though. People who use two or more languages can also switch between tasks more quickly. These people are more used to the confusing back and forth between languages. And as for dementia, bilingualism helps prevent this disease. Research shows that the first signs of dementia generally occur at about 71.4 years of age for monolinguals, but 75.5 years of age for bilinguals.

As should be clear, speaking two or more languages provides desirable benefits. However, as research continues, scientists will likely discover even more reasons to acquire a foreign language.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "bilingual" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.

True or False? : Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. Bilingual employees always earn more money.
  2. Some parts of the brain get stronger when someone speaks two languages.
  3. Bilingual people can switch between tasks more quickly.
  4. According to the article, bilingualism can fight against dementia.
  5. Scientists have already discovered more reasons to learn a foreign language.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How many languages do you speak? Please explain.
  2. Would you want to learn a third, fourth, or fifth language? Why/not?
  3. What is the most difficult aspect of learning a language? Why do you think so?
  4. What other benefits come from being multilingual? Please explain.
  5. What problems and/or disadvantages come from being multilingual? Please explain.

Google Search: Type "bilingual" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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