English 101 - Dr. Mandy Suhr-Sytsma
BLOGGING ABOUT MULTILINGUALISM
As I wrote in my first blog post about moving to the United States and learning English while in high school, I thought to discuss about being a bilingual and the benefits of being able to speak multiple languages. In-class, we have several students who can speak multiple languages and we touched on the topic of how the ability to speak multiple languages allows for increased understanding of translingual orientation. Not only does this idea of translingual orientation increase with the ability to speak many languages, but so do biological cognitive and executive functions of the brain.
I found a very interesting article on the New York Times from 2012 that talks about the several benefits of being a bilingual. The article outlines recent research that has shown that the bilingual experiences improves attention processes that people use for "planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks." As a result of this, students can stay focused longer on tasks and short-term memory capacity increases.
I thought that it's very interesting to think that just the ability to comprehend and understand another language can have such drastic benefits on people's brain. I guess that I have now better cognitive and executive functions than when I was monolingual and couldn't speak English. Maybe even all that time students spend in Spanish and French class - for example - isn't used on just learning to speak and write in a different dialect, but also at the same time on improving the health and capacity of the brain.
Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit. "Why Bilinguals Are Smarter." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.