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Hello! Ciao! Bonjour! The More Languages The Better!

UNVERSITY PARK, Penn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --If you’ve ever wanted to learn another language or brush up on one you studied in high school – now is the time to do it. We’ll tell you how speaking more than one language can boost your brain power.

It’s estimated that more than 30 million Americans are bilingual, and in many places around the world, speaking three to four different languages is common.

“I can speak German if I’m in Germany, I can speak French when I’m in France or I can speak Dutch when I’m in the Netherlands, or English basically in all the other countries.” Janet Vanhell, Ph.D., a psychologist at Pennsylvania State University told Ivanhoe.

Now, new research from cognitive scientists and psychologists has shown that speaking more than one language can improve brain function.

“The finding that is very surprising is that bilinguals cannot switch off one of the two languages,” Judith Kroll, Ph.D., a cognitive scientist, Pennsylvania state university told Ivanhoe.

Constantly juggling languages helps exercise the brain. Researchers found that some bilingual speakers are better able to ignore unimportant information and focus only on important things – skills that help bilinguals become better at prioritizing and multi-tasking.

“What we see is that it’s not just about language, that it becomes a more general characteristic of how bilinguals are able to sort out these conflicts in everyday life,” Dr. Kroll concluded.

The source of enhanced multi-tasking skills could be speaking. Bilinguals are able to select the language to speak, even slipping in and out of both languages to select a word or phrase to better express a thought.

Proof mental exercising does the mind good.

The benefits of bilingualism are shown across all age groups, studies with bilingual children show they are also better at prioritizing and multi-tasking than children who only speak one language.

Click here to Go Inside This Science and View Video or contact:

Judith Kroll
Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Women's Studies
Director, Center for Language Science
Department of Psychology
Pennsylvania State University

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Hola! Hello! Ciao! Bonjour! The More Languages the Better!

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Prior Reports
DBIS was a joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics from January 2005 - December 2011.
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  © 2011 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.