I’ve always found it strange that some people are not convinced of the advantages of having a bilingual brain and being bilingual. When you think about it there are some many positive reasons for being or becoming one.
When we talk about benefits, we have to divide them into two broad areas, the social and cognitive ones. As we’ll see, bilingualism has positive effects at both ends of the age spectrum: Bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.
In this first part we’ll look at the social benefits of being bilingual or even multilingual, whether you’ve reached that level as a child or an adult.
It should be obvious that knowing more than one language has certain advantages, especially if you speak major world languages. Or isn’t it?
Firstly, it makes it easier for you to travel, meet and understand better more people in those countries that speak that language as well as gain access to twice as much literature. And you can delve deeper into the culture of a language without having to rely on translations.
It should also be said that if you have raised your child in your language and you live in a country that doesn’t speak that language, it will mean that your offspring will be able to learn about their parent’s country more easily. Moreover, if you have family in the heritage language country, your children will be able to get to know their cousins and relatives there. This last reason is a justification in itself even if your language isn’t a major one. For more about bringing up your child in your language, check out The 5 Key Strategies of Successful Bilingual Families:The Step-by-Step Guide for parents. On Amazon now.
Another very important benefit these days is in the business world. With an ever-expanding global market, knowing two or more languages will open more doors in the job market. It has also been reported that you are likely to earn a higher salary on average. I’ve been involved in carrying out professional language level interviews for candidates in selection processes. Sometimes, a competent level is the difference between getting the job or not.
And last but definitely not least, many people find bilinguals and multilinguals more interesting and attractive! What do you think? If none of those social advantages has convinced you, in the second part of this series, we’ll look at the cognitive ones.