The benefits of learning languages

There is a constant stream of information now about the cognitive benefits of learning languages. Learning a language develops your hippocampus, enables you to retain and recall information and helps you sort information better. SBS television has just put out another article about the benefits of bilingualism and again there is indisputable evidence that it benefits your brain and your thinking amongst other things. I can relate to what they are saying in the video about people speaking more than one language . When you are immersed in a language you can block other languages. If you are in a situation which is prompting other languages you know, then it’s true, you will think of the German word instead of the French one. I have taught a number of German international students French. My instinct is to talk to them in German. They are here to improve their English and are in my French class. Like me they have a ready facility to go from their native language to another but to make them go from English to French or French to English is initially very hard. They will then revert to German. I find it hard to go from German to French. One language has to be dominant but I have been in places where people readily go from one language to another in 10 minutes. In Sydney airport I heard a businessman go from Dutch to German to French to English in one call on his phone. That kind of linguistic capacity is learned and becomes a habit. The internet and technology devices have improved considerably in helping people to learn languages. YouTube has some good channels and then there a number of apps for learning languages in a sequential way. My own favourite is Duolingo because it works across all devices and delivers very good practice. Depending on the language you want to learn you can learn it in bite size pieces very easily on a phone or tablet.

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