The benefits of a bilingual brain – Mia Nacamulli


¿Hablas español? Parlez-vous français?
你会说中文吗? If you answered, “sí,” “oui,” or “会”
and you’re watching this in English, chances are you belong to the world’s
bilingual and multilingual majority. And besides having
an easier time traveling or watching movies without subtitles, knowing two or more languages
means that your brain may actually look and work differently
than those of your monolingual friends. So what does it really
mean to know a language? Language ability is typically measured
in two active parts, speaking and writing, and two passive parts,
listening and reading. While a balanced bilingual has near equal abilities across the board
in two languages, most bilinguals around the world
know and use their languages in varying proportions. And depending on their situation
and how they acquired each language, they can be classified into
three general types. For example, let’s take Gabriella, whose family immigrates to the US
from Peru when she’s two-years old. As a compound bilingual, Gabriella develops two linguistic
codes simultaneously, with a single set of concepts, learning both English and Spanish as she begins to process
the world around her. Her teenage brother, on the other hand,
might be a coordinate bilingual, working with two sets of concepts, learning English in school, while continuing to speak Spanish
at home and with friends. Finally, Gabriella’s parents are likely
to be subordinate bilinguals who learn a secondary language by filtering it through
their primary language. Because all types of bilingual people
can become fully proficient in a language regardless of accent or pronunciation, the difference may not be apparent
to a casual observer. But recent advances
in brain imaging technology have given neurolinguists a glimpse into how specific aspects of language
learning affect the bilingual brain. It’s well known that the brain’s
left hemisphere is more dominant and analytical in logical processes, while the right hemisphere is more active
in emotional and social ones, though this is a matter of degree,
not an absolute split. The fact that language involves
both types of functions while lateralization develops
gradually with age, has lead to the critical
period hypothesis. According to this theory, children learn languages more easily because the plasticity
of their developing brains lets them use both hemispheres
in language acquisition, while in most adults, language
is lateralized to one hemisphere, usually the left. If this is true, learning a language
in childhood may give you a more holistic grasp
of its social and emotional contexts. Conversely, recent research showed that people who learned
a second language in adulthood exhibit less emotional bias
and a more rational approach when confronting problems
in the second language than in their native one. But regardless of when you acquire
additional languages, being multilingual gives your brain
some remarkable advantages. Some of these are even visible, such as higher density of the grey matter that contains most of your brain’s
neurons and synapses, and more activity in certain regions
when engaging a second language. The heightened workout a bilingual
brain receives throughout its life can also help delay the onset of diseases,
like Alzheimer’s and dementia by as much as five years. The idea of major cognitive
benefits to bilingualism may seem intuitive now, but it would have surprised
earlier experts. Before the 1960s, bilingualism
was considered a handicap that slowed a child’s development by forcing them to spend too much energy
distinguishing between languages, a view based largely on flawed studies. And while a more recent study did show that reaction times and errors increase
for some bilingual students in cross-language tests, it also showed that the effort
and attention needed to switch between languages
triggered more activity in, and potentially strengthened,
the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain
that plays a large role in executive function, problem solving,
switching between tasks, and focusing while filtering out
irrelevant information. So, while bilingualism may not
necessarily make you smarter, it does make your brain more healthy,
complex and actively engaged, and even if you didn’t have
the good fortune of learning a second language as a child, it’s never too late to do
yourself a favor and make the linguistic
leap from, “Hello,” to, “Hola,” “Bonjour” or “你好’s” because when it comes to our brains
a little exercise can go a long way.

100 thoughts on “The benefits of a bilingual brain – Mia Nacamulli

  1. As a Malaysian.. I speak, Tamil, English, Malay.. And understand abit of Chinese.. Hokkien dialect and mandarin

  2. school taught me my ABCDs but i learned English the most from watching badly dubbed animes and that's why i have no emotion when i'm speaking English lol

  3. Also wenn mir kein Wort einfรคllt, I'll just switch to English. But ich denke nicht that I'm Billingual.Because every Schรผler in Germany lernt in der Schule Englisch und that's why it's not an auรŸergewรถhnlich thing German und English zu sprechen.Daswidania!

  4. Iโ€™m currently learning a second language and I honestly have so much respect for everyone who can speak more than one. Itโ€™s not easy and it takes time. So to all those that can I respect you and admire you!!!!

  5. I ended up learning to speak Spanish when I got a job right down the street from where I used to live in a Mexican restaurant. Everyone was an illegal alien from Mexico except boss who had papers to be in the United States so to work there I learned to speak there language. I remember my brain would feel tingly Everytime I got home.

  6. I'm 21 i speak 5 languages and i really think it's problematic, cuz i keep forgetting how to say words in the appropriate language so i keep rushing my speech and end up using way too much filler words.
    So i think scientists before the 60s had a point after all.

  7. All indians are born multilingual
    The additional languages we learn are just plus points

  8. I'm a trilingual brain, my mother language (portuguese), german and english…and it is a complete mess! Sometimes I forget the word in my own language because can only figure it in the other one or even the other two. But in the long run I think it's good.

  9. Why doesn't she have an accent when she's speaking Chinese but she has an accent when she's speaking French?

  10. One thing thatโ€™s crazy about me is that sometimes I can understand what people are talking about in different languages, without even knowing any other language than English

  11. I learned english in school (the basics) but then i studied the rest with reading and developing a native accent through listening to American movies . I also know korean through youtube for the basics and the rest i just watched a lot of korean dramas to catch phrases and the accent as well

  12. I speak 4 languages, Spanish (native), English, Portuguese, french. Here in Honduras you have to learn many things to go out of this poor and destroyed country. Rich people don't need to learn anything.

  13. Who else does the thing where you're speaking your mother tongue but have to dip in to your second or third language for phrases? (I'm from Montreal where pretty much everyone does this)

  14. I believe learning a second language as Gabrielaโ€™s brother and being involved in the new language environment (full of native slang speakers) can be sometimes emotionally detrimental because of an evident skills gap.

  15. I use more english than I do my native language, lol. And I have no idea in what language I "think". cool stuff

  16. The most annoying thing that can happen to a bilingual speaker is to forget the flipping word in both languages ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ you kind of feel the word, can sense it but you had a brain fart and you start to describe the meaning of the word and other listener has to guess it ROFL

  17. Disagree because you get smarter when you acquire a new skill such as knowing how to speak another language and new language improves your vocabulary .

  18. i speak malay, english, korean, japanese, indonesian, germany and arabic ๐Ÿ˜‚

  19. Je parle le Franรงais et l'Anglais couramment.

    I speak French and English fluently.

  20. The way she said โ€œbonjourโ€ made me feel sick for a while. Rrrrrrrrrr ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

  21. What if you only know like a fraction of a language? Like I understand simple Spanish, would that still make me a bilingual or do you have to know basically a whole language?

  22. I have to speak 4 languages everyday. The hardest one is Amazigh..(north-Africa)

  23. I have to speak 4 languages everyday. The hardest one is Amazigh..(north-Africa)

  24. I speak 6 languages myself. The correct term is Polyglot and not Multilingual. Just saying lol

  25. most of the indians including me are trilinguals that's gotta count for something

  26. I love learn language. For now English, Spanish ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ทand My Mother Languages Portuguese. ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท

  27. ะŸะตะบะฐั€ัŒ ะŸะตั‚ั€ ะฟั‘ะบ ะฟะธั€ะพะณะธ
    (this is really important information)

  28. I speak three languages and all three i have to use really often and now the prob is, that sometimes i use trois languages ek hi phrase main and the person in front of me dont get it and that makes me frustrated.

  29. This is our topic in feature writing past DSPC 19, di ko to na gets nong pinanood samin

  30. Here in India English is taught as a first language…so many ppl know English better than their actual mother tongue

  31. I actually know 5 languages: Turkish, Azerbaijani, English, French and Russia. It really helps me in my every daily life.

  32. When your second language becomes an everyday necessity and you are not gifted on language acquisition, then struggling becomes real, just like me now. I studied English for many many years and lived in an English speaking country for many years as well, and also I speak English every day. But still, I could not get a clear clue of how this language works, and most practically I could not pass these English examinations for testing non-English speaker's English level. How frustrating!

  33. i'm israeli, my fiance is brazilian, and we both agreed each will speak their native language once we have a child so they'd already grow up polyglot (hebrew, portuguese and english). not to mention knowing an indo-european language and a semitic language will probably help them a lot in the future learning more. ๐Ÿ˜€

  34. The thumbnail of this video displayed on my iPad as โ€˜The Benefits of a Bilingual Braโ€™ …xD

  35. I am a quatrlingual
    ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น
    ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ
    ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ง
    ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฒ

  36. In our countries itโ€™s compulsory to learn English as a second language starting from first grade. Third language is optional in high school. Iโ€™m surprised how many westerners know English only.

  37. As a bilingual I feel like I don't know either of my two languages extremely well.

  38. whenever i speak in english i sound like a vsco girl, but in tagalog i sound like a weed smoker from the hood lmaooo

  39. Benefit of being bilingual:

    talking about other people when they donโ€™t understand

  40. Amazing video ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป
    Iโ€™m actually learning Italian , Japanese ,Korean at the same time and improving my English my original language is Arabic
    Sound crazy ๐Ÿ˜œ but yah I love challenges ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

  41. Is it just me who thinks they are good at a topic when learning it, then you go to speak it to someone and its like ehhhhh

  42. Parlez-vous franรงais? ไฝ ๆœƒ่ชชไธญๆ–‡ๅ—Ž๏ผŸI started learning both languages last year. I'm struggling but happy indeed. I'm searching for an Arabic school to learn my third foreign language.

  43. For some reason Iโ€™m bilingual I speak Spanish and English but when I watch a Spanish show I hear them speak in English and Iโ€™m like WTF

  44. A majority of Indians are multi or at least bilingual. And yes, this video was self gratifying!

  45. Remembering one word in a language and forgetting it in the other language.

  46. ๐Ÿ“ฒ*00.212.649.049.838* *whatapps*๐Ÿ“ฒ
    ุดู€ู€ุจู€ู€ุงุจ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™‚๏ธ ุตู€ู€ุงุฑ ู„ู€ูŠ ุจู€ู€ู‚ู€ู€ุฑุฃ ูƒู€ู€ุซู€ู€ูŠู€ู€ุฑ ู…ู€ู€ู† ุงู„ู€ูƒู€ูˆู…ู€ู†ู€ุชู€ุงุช ุนู€ู€ู† ุตู€ู€ุบู€ู€ุฑ ุงู„ู€ู‚ู€ุถู€ูŠู€ุจ ูˆุณู€ู€ุฑุนู€ู€ุฉ ุงู„ู€ู‚ู€ุฐู
    ูˆุฃุญู€ุจ ุฃู‚ู€ู€ูˆู„ู€ู€ูƒู€ู€ู… ุจู€ู€ู…ู€ู€ุนู€ู€ู„ู€ู€ูˆู…ู€ู€ุฉ ู…ู€ู€ูู€ู€ูŠู€ู€ุฏุฉ๐Ÿ˜‰ ุฃู†ู€ู€ูŠ ุญู€ุตู€ู„ู€ุช ุนู€ู„ู€ู‰ ูˆุตู€ูู€ุฉ ุฑู‡ู€ูŠู€ุจู€ุฉ ู…ู€ู† ุงู„ู€ู€ุฏูƒู€ู€ุชู€ู€ูˆุฑ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โš•๏ธ ุงู„ู€ู„ู€ูŠ ุจู€ู€ูŠู€ู€ุชู€ู€ูˆุงุตู€ู€ู„ ู…ู€ู€ุนู€ู€ุงู‡ ูƒู€ุซู€ูŠู€ุฑ ู…ู€ู† ุงู„ู€ู€ู†ู€ู€ุงุณ
    ูˆุจู€ุตู€ุฏู‚ ุงุณู€ุชู€ุนู€ู…ู€ู„ู€ุชู€ูˆ ูƒู€ู€ู… ุฃุณู€ุจู€ูˆุน ูˆุตู€ุงุฑ ู„ู€ู€ูŠ ู‚ู€ุถู€ูŠู€ุจ ุฑู‡ู€ูŠู€ุจ ุชู€ุชู€ู…ู€ู†ู€ุงู‡ ุฃูŠ ุฒูˆุฌู€ุฉ๐Ÿ˜
    ๐Ÿ“ฒ*00212649049838* *Whatapps*๐Ÿ“ฒู‡ู€ุฐุง ุฑู‚ู€ู… ุงู„ู€ู€ุฏูƒู€ู€ุชู€ู€ูˆุฑ ุนู€ู„ู€ู‰

  47. If your a multilingual what languages do you speak?
    I can speak tagalog,english,a little french and im currently learning hangul

  48. I once learnt a language so fine, it was drunk on barley wine. I'd been to school for a month or two, I knew I could make it mine.

  49. ฮ“ฮ‘ฮœฮฉ ฮคฮŸ ฮšฮŸฮ›ฮ›ฮ•ฮ“ฮ™ฮŸ ฮกฮ• ฮœฮ‘ฮ›ฮ‘ฮšฮ•ฮฃ

  50. I want to learn Korean and Spanish right, so at the beginning of the video I noticed it was Spanish and it said โ€œDo you speak Spanishโ€, I answered โ€œ๋„ค,โ€ which is yes in Korean ๐Ÿ˜‚.

    Iโ€™m not fluent in both languages but Iโ€™m focusing on Korean right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *