A study by the University of Edinburgh concludes that there are clear advantages of learning a foreign language on our brains. Learning one or more foreign languages should not only keep you mentally fit. It also slow down the aging of the brain.
Learning a foreign language not only broadens our own horizons, but can also effectively counteract the deterioration of our brain. In a study by the University of Edinburgh, scientists conclude that learning foreign languages has advantages. The brain cells of people who speak two or more foreign languages show a significantly slower aging process.
Advantages of foreign languages confirmed by study
The team around neuroscientist Dr. Thomas Bak from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) evaluated intelligence tests from a total of 835 native English speakers. These were first conducted with them in the 1940s, then in the 70s, and finally between 2008 and 2010.
It was shown that the test persons who spoke two or more foreign languages had a significantly higher level of cognitive ability than those who only spoke their mother tongue. A difference between test persons who had learned the foreign language in childhood or later could not be determined.
How important constant learning is
For the neuroscientists, the results of the study are particularly interesting with regard to topics such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They show how lifelong learning and challenging our thinking apparatus can effectively counteract the deterioration of our gray cells.
A study published in Neurology magazine in 2013 showed that people who speak at least two languages develop dementia an average of 4.5 years later than purely native speakers.
Parents in particular should therefore encourage their children to learn languages at an early age and provide mental training. And it’s never too late for adults either. Self-study courses for at home or online language trainers for smartphones, tablets or notebooks such as Duolingo and Babbel offer numerous opportunities to challenge your own brain on the side.
Classroom courses at local evening schools are also a great option. Learning in a group and using the language in practice result in additional learning impulses.
In general, everyone should be careful not to complete the training at the end of the training. Lifelong learning and constant training of memory keep you mentally fit. Brain training and the development of knowledge can not only open up new professional perspectives for us, but also protect us from dementia or delay its onset.