The benefits of being bilingual, or even knowing multiple languages, helps the brain stay healthy. While it’s best to take on a second language at a young age, even adults who learn to speak a second language later on in life can reap the benefits. Some studies have even shown a connection between knowing and speaking a second language on a regular basis and the delay of Alzheimer’s and dementia in older adults.
There’s even the idea of “bilingual advantage”, explained in this New Yorker piece.
Not only does speaking multiple languages help us to communicate but bilingualism (or multilingualism) may actually confer distinct advantages to the developing brain. Because a bilingual child switches between languages, the theory goes, she develops enhanced executive control, or the ability to effectively manage what are called higher cognitive processes, such as problem-solving, memory, and thought. She becomes better able to inhibit some responses, promote others, and generally emerges with a more flexible and agile mind. It’s a phenomenon that researchers call the bilingual advantage.
But being bilingual or multilingual isn’t just good for your brain. It could also be good for your career, your ability to travel both in the US and abroad and it might even make you rich.
There’s really no downside to be bilingual or multilingual, but if you need more convincing, this video from TED-Ed explains it all in plain English.