Academics from several universities have found that employees who speak more than one language are of enormous benefit to organisations, even if those organisations do not need foreign language speakers. Our Paul Clarke explains.
A study by Northwestern University and the University of Houston which has been published in the journal Brain and Language measured the blood flow in participants' brains when a photograph was shown to them and the word said in English. There were 18 native English speakers involved in the study and 17 Spanish/English speakers. The brains of the bilingual speakers exerted far less effort then the monolingual speakers.
In a separate study, published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics and undertaken by Pennsylvania State University and the Guandong University of Foreign Studies, 23 people were taught 48 Mandarin words over a six-week period. The researchers then measured how the subjects' brains had changed. Of those subjects who correctly identified words, there was a clear connection with brain paths that had not previously connected.
The studies provide further evidence that learning a language does ward off dementia, as has also been stated in several previous studies.
Paul Clarke is an assistant at Unique Language Training and writes regularly for this blog. For more information on learning a second language, please fill out the form on this page. You can also telephone 020 3566 0145 or e-mail us.
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