Australia’s diverse population speaks over 300 languages – making it one of the most multilingual countries in the world. Yet young Australians are losing interest in learning a foreign language. So, what are the benefits of being bilingual?
1. It keeps your brain healthy as you age
Numerous studies have shown a clear correlation between bilingualism and reduced incidence or later onset of dementia. Being bilingual appears to keep the brain healthy and better able to resist the effects of aging.
2. It can give children an academic advantage
Children have no difficulty in acquiring more than one language, provided the input is consistent. In terms of mother-tongue literacy, studies have shown that schoolchildren who receive good quality instruction in a second language tend to outperform their peers who do not.
3. It improves your employment prospects
Speaking more than one language gives you access to a wider job market and can often result in higher pay.
4. It gives you access to more than one culture
Bilingualism provides a window into the culture that is otherwise impossible. It introduces you to alternative ways to express yourself and adds depth to your understanding of the human experience.
5. It improves your understanding of your native language and makes it easier to learn a third
Learning a second language helps you reflect on your own language. The understanding of how language works, coupled with the experience you have already gained of second-language learning, makes it all the easier to learn a third.
For more information on the benefits of being bilingual visit ELT.
Did you know that UNESCO estimates that, if nothing is done, half of 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century?
To learn more visit UNESCO’s interactive atlas of the world’s endangered languages.
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