Human-ities

WHY BILINGUALISM STRENGTHENS YOUR MENTAL MUSCLE

People who are able to speak two languages usually can do so seamlessly, a trait that likely develops a higher level of mental flexibility, researchers say.

“In the past, bilinguals were looked down upon,” says Judith F. Kroll, distinguished professor of psychology, linguistics and women’s studies at Penn State.

“Not only is bilingualism not bad for you, it may be really good. When you’re switching languages all the time it strengthens your mental muscle and your executive function becomes enhanced.”

Fluent bilinguals seem to have both languages active at all times, whether both languages are consciously being used or not—and both languages are active whether either was used only seconds or several days earlier.

Bilinguals rarely say a word in the unintended language, which suggests that they have the ability to control the parallel activity of both languages and ultimately select the intended language without needing to consciously think about it.

For a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers conducted two separate but related experiments. In the first, 27 Spanish-English bilinguals read 512 sentences, written in either Spanish or English—alternating language every two sentences.

Excerpt from an article by Victoria Indivero-Penn State at Futurity. Continue THERE

Human-ities · Social/Politics

Vanishing Languages Vanishing Voices



One language dies every 14 days. By the next century nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear, as communities abandon native tongues in favor of English, Mandarin, or Spanish. What is lost when a language goes silent?

In an increasingly globalized, connected, homogenized age, languages spoken in remote places are no longer protected by national borders or natural boundaries from the languages that dominate world communication and commerce. The reach of Mandarin and English and Russian and Hindi and Spanish and Arabic extends seemingly to every hamlet, where they compete with Tuvan and Yanomami and Altaic in a house-to-house battle. Parents in tribal villages often encourage their children to move away from the insular language of their forebears and toward languages that will permit greater education and success.

The Enduring Voices Project is funded in part by your National Geographic Society membership.

Via NatGeo. Read text HERE. See images HERE