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How your Brain benefits from learning a New Language

It is never too late to learn a new language. the benefits of learning and knowing a language next to your mother tongue are amazing, even if you are already an adult.

I am not just talking about the fun of communicating in another language. Or about the fun of being able to make new connections and friends.

I am talking about health benefits of the brain like better memory, slower aging and less risk of dementia.

Children growing up to be multi-lingual

Our brain is amazing as well when it comes to children growing up to be multi-lingual. I think we have all met bilingual children and were just a little jealous of their ability to jump between different languages. They are even bi-lingual on an emotional level. 

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My children are tri-lingual. Every day, I am amazed how easy it is to raise them with three different languages. Being consistent is the most important task for us as parents. Even our children are exposed to and have the ability to learn different languages; they are constantly tempted to choose the easy way out. And the easy way is speaking English! Slowly, they start to see the benefits of being able to speak three languages fluently.

While learning a new language

What is going on in the brain while learning a new language? How are we different learning as children, teenagers and adults?

While doing my research I found this amazing video. I realized that I can’t explain it better and so I let this video do its job.

health benefits of the brain are better memory, slower aging and less risk of dementia.

If you feel that you need some more understanding of the brain areas used in the video, you can always go back to my post on basic brain facts.

Now, enjoy the video and let me know in the comments section if you are a multi-lingual person as well or if you – just now – found the ambition to go ahead and learn a new language!

For your brain’s health sake 🙂

 

 

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com

 

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simplyilka

Hi I'm Ilka, a self-development writer and lovable scientist with a knowledgeable expertise in brain science. I help people realize the power our behavior has on our brain - and the other way around.

Denise Kong - November 23, 2015

I wish we were better at teaching languages in the UK. I learned French at school, and I remember that feeling of “being inside” another language and losing myself to it, even though I can’t speak it as well now. I feel it’s an experience my children have lost out on.

    simplyilka - November 24, 2015

    Hi Denise!

    Because so many people speak English, the need for people in English speaking countries to learn another language is not so present. But the experience is still great; like you mentioned about learning French. Maybe your children can still learn a another language during a holiday or so. It’s never too late 😉

    Thank so much for your insightful comment, Ilka

Marylin Warner - November 25, 2015

This post has me wishing I’d taken more languages, Ilka! As a high school English teacher, I also taught sections of English as a Second Language, which helped the students, but perhaps learning another language myself would have helped me much more.
In my mother’s facility, one of the women who also has advance dementia is responding well to her grandson teaching her American Sign Language. The new way of communicating, of feeling the new letters and words, is helping her. It’s also raising her spirits because it means quality time with her grandson. 😉
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    simplyilka - December 1, 2015

    Hi Marylin!

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

    It is really nice that learning sign language has such a positive effect on the lady in your mom’s facility. Next to the quality time with her grandson that you mentioned, this activity definitely benefits her brain and well-being.

    All the best to you, Ilka 🙂

Sonal Talwar - November 25, 2015

Hi Ilka

A great post. I enjoyed reading it. You are so right that it is never too late to learn a language. Learning is the continuous process. If we plan to learn a new language it can be done in any phase of life.

Learning a new language has so many health benefits as well. I guess I must start learning a new language!

Have a nice day!
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    simplyilka - December 1, 2015

    Hi Sonal!

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights. Yes, learning a new language has many health benefits, even when we are older. And it is not even necessary to speak the new language perfectly; as long as we train our brain and enjoy the fun of knowing and practicing a new language.

    Thanks again and enjoy your day, Ilka

Ella - November 25, 2015

Hi Ilka!

I am always fascinated by people who speak many languages. I know only English. Sometimes, I wish I could learn another language; but I guess I am just a little lazy.

Nice video and as always I’ve learned a lot reading your post.

– Ella

    simplyilka - December 1, 2015

    Hi Ella!

    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you learned something new. I am always happy if you do. I do understand that life circumstances, a busy life style or being lazy keep us from learning a new language. It’s not easy; despite all the benefits.

    Have a great day, Ilka

Harleena Singh - November 27, 2015

Hi Ilka,

Wonderful indeed 🙂

Yes, we all have the ability to learn more than one language and even excel in it. I think kids are the ones that pick it up the quickest. Thus, in their schools they are taught 2-3 languages, so by the time they are in high school, they excel in at least 2 if not more of them.

I guess English is what most of us learn, but our mother tongue is usually spoken at home and we may opt for it in school also. Besides that, any other language like French and German are great choices. We have Hindi and Sanskrit too that are compulsory, so it adds up, beside any other regional language you’d like to take.

Overall, learning such languages only help you get better as you gain so much more through them.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it too. 🙂
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    simplyilka - December 1, 2015

    Hi Harleena!

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am always amazed how many languages my Indian friends speak. They all speak at least English, Hindi and a regional language fluently. You explained very well how your school system works which explains this and makes it understandable.

    The benefits of speaking many languages are many; and like you said you gain so much through all the languages.

    Thank you for your wishes. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving time.

    All the best to you, Ilka

Rachel - November 30, 2015

Hey IIka,

After watching that video, I think I want to learn another language. I slowly started to learn Mandarine – boy what a task. It really pushed me to think differently. I was using car registration to learn numbers. Anything out in the open that could reinforce what I had learnt. Unfortunately I did not keep it up (should have taken up a class).

I believe it would exercise the brain in different ways. Because it was such an unusual way of think. The grey matter certainly was getting a work over. I am impressed your children know three languages.

It’s interesting how easy children pick up languages and the plasticity in the brain allows them use both sides of the brain. Thanks for an insight into what learning a new language can do.

Rachel.

    simplyilka - December 3, 2015

    Hi Rachel!

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    It is truly amazing how fast kids learn different languages. And the video explained very well why it is so easy. But the video also explained why it is always possible to learn a new language. I am glad you feel like learning a new one yourself. And you are really adventurous in your choices. Mandarin! Wow! What an incredibly fascinating language to learn. I can imagine how difficult it was.

    All the best to you, Ilka

Adrienne - November 30, 2015

Hi Ilka,

I took Spanish in junior high school but I definitely don’t remember much. It was required that we take one language and I thought I would use that one more than any other. I did too and can still say a few things but not much.

I can only imagine that learning something like this can be good for you. Anytime you use the brain to learn is good for you. Of course I don’t have any reason to learn another language now but I can appreciate what you’ve shared here Ilka. Pretty darn interesting for sure.

~Adrienne
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    simplyilka - December 3, 2015

    Hi Adrienne!

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

    Spanish is a great language, and it is great that you still speak some Spanish. It must be fun, even you might have forgotten some of it. A language is about communication; not being perfect. And your brain does benefit from knowing it. And as you said, your brain benefits from any kind of learning.

    I am glad that you found the post interesting.
    All the best to you, Ilka

ikechi - December 4, 2015

Hi Iika

I learnt french when I was in Secondary school but lost interest in it afterward. I never knew the benefit of learning another language till today.

If such knowledge about the benefits of learning languages were known, I believe that people would be encouraged to learn more languages.

Thanks for the video and for sharing this awesome post. Take Care
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    simplyilka - December 8, 2015

    Hi Ikechi!

    I am glad you liked the post and you could learn something new. We never realize how much good we do to our brain when we learn, especially in school. There we get discouraged by exams and boring teaching. Luckily, we can learn our own way once we are adults.

    Have a great day, Ilka

Sherri Matthews - December 4, 2015

Hi Ilka! This post reminds me of spending time recently in France and the chance to practice my not so good French. I learnt it at school for years, but I’ve become convinced that unless you live in that country for a little while it just doesn’t sink in. I am in awe of those who are bilingual (and your children are trilingual…wow! That’s an amazing accomplishment and will carry them far in life). My in laws were Spanish but spoke English to me and others. I would have loved to have been raised in a bilingual home. After our recent visit to France, I am more determined to learn the language properly now so that I can hold proper conversations when we go back. Fascinating video…imagine that it was once considered a hindrence to be bilingual…how far we’ve come since those days. And as you say, it’s never too late! Great post, thank you my friend, I’m inspired to get my brain exercising! 🙂
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    simplyilka - December 8, 2015

    Hi Sherri!

    Thank you so much for sharing your valuable insights. You are right, the best way to learn a language is in the country itself. There you can experience the need to communicate in a different language and see the benefits of learning right away.

    I also still remember the times when people were afraid to confuse and exhaust children with learning too many languages. Maybe that it true for having kids sit straight on chairs to study. But when you play around and just speak a language to the kids they learn without even realizing it. But it’s good to know that it is never too late to learn anything we want 🙂

    Have a great day my friend, Ilka

Cindy Hoffman - January 27, 2016

I have learned four languages myself and my kiddos are learning their third language now. They are excited to learn the new language and at times you will find them speaking French while playing their video games. I like it when I see this because it helps them to practice really well without the worries of living in and English speaking nation. Thanks a lot for sharing the post and the video.

Cindy

    simplyilka - January 31, 2016

    Hi Cindy!

    So you are speaking four languages; how wonderful! That is such a blessing. And it is great that your kids are also speaking many languages. For some reason, I see a lot of adults, who were raised multi-lingual, not passing it on to their kids. That is such a shame. So, congratulations for doing an amazing job with your kids.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Ilka

Helen Wilson - July 11, 2016

Hey!!

Lovely tips !!

I must say that the world is becoming more and more connected each and every day.

And I agree to your every point .
Learning a new language is really helpful for travelers.

As traveling will never be the same when you know the language of the country you are visiting.

There is nothing like talking to the locals and finding out where they go and hang out. You will see and experience more of the culture than if you were just a foreign tourist.

Thanks a lot for sharing these ideas.
Keep doing good work.
God Bless U!

    simplyilka - July 22, 2016

    Hi Helen!

    Thank you for visiting and sharing your experience.

    You are right, traveling becomes even more special when we talk to the locals and have them share their insights with us. Sometimes a few words in a foreign language can change the whole atmosphere between tourist and local.

    Great points! Thank you, Ilka

Aodhan: Newcastle recycling - November 17, 2016

This is really interesting – we have started our daughter in a school with a bi-lingual program and I am glad to see the evidence of the benefits.

    simplyilka - November 23, 2016

    Thank you for your comment.

    Yes, your daughter will be fine for sure. This will also be a huge benefit for the rest of her life.
    All the best, Ilka

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