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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?
Ildiko Dauda

24 Jul 2017 - 9:19 AM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2018 - 10:38 AM

Did you know that UNESCO estimates that, if nothing is done, half of 6,000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century?

Are you learning a language? Enter the SBS National Languages Competition now to WIN!

Speaking a second language not only helps keep these languages alive, but there are other benefits to being bilingual too.

Here are five of them:

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.



The SBS National Languages Competition 2018 is an exciting initiative to encourage and celebrate a love of learning languages in Australia. It’s a nationwide competition to engage language learners and reflect on the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of Australia's multicultural society.

What amazing possibilities does learning a language open for you? Get involved and enter the competition now.

National Languages Competition: winners announced!
SBS Radio announced the winners of the SBS National Languages Competition 2018. Selected across five age categories, the winning entries were chosen based on their creative approach and unique stories.