Boost Your Brain Power

In our global society there are so many advantages of learning foreign languages: you can travel to more places safely and actually learn about the local culture, your job and salary prospects are considerably enhanced and, very importantly, you may meet the love of your life speaking a foreign language. However, despite all these advantages, another one stands out for me: the additional brain power that knowing foreign language gives you. Students who study a foreign language for more than 4 years regularly outperform their peers who don’t study a language. Learning a foreign language enhances and enriches a child’s language experience, and offers them unique insights and opportunities for the development of cognitive skills which are unavailable to the monolingual child. Studies show that people who are bilingual are more creative, better at multi-tasking and have superior problem solving skills. Furthermore, research shows that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills. Being bilingual has even been shown to offset cognitive impairment in elderly people. In addition to all these cognitive benefits of learning languages, there are a number of connected cultural and personality advantages. As bilinguals brains are more flexible they are more open-minded, and they are able to see what they have in common with people from other countries and cultures. Learning another language acts as a gateway to a new culture, helping to broaden horizons and improve our receptivity to new ideas and values. This openmindedness leads to greater tolerance and inter-cultural competence which are both essential in our current globalised economy. So what are you waiting for? Challenge yourself and your brain by learning a new language. The wide range of benefits will mean that despite the effort it will be well worth it. 1. What benefits of learning languages does the writer mention? 2. What is the greatest benefit according to the writer? 3. What are the cognitive benefits of learning languages? 4. How does learning a language make you more openminded? 5. How can learning languages help the economy? by Kieran Donaghy

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