UCLA linguist expert, Jared Diamond, has just published his findings on the benefits of ‘multilingualism’ in this current issue of Science and has confirmed what many belief: the benefits are many.
His study found that children raised bilingually develop a specific type of cognitive benefit during infancy, and that bilingualism offers some protection against symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia. When a child raised with bilingualism and he hears a word the brain works harder to figure out the meaning of the word and what language system it belongs to.
This mental process is called executive switching and it all happens in the prefrontal cortex which later in life will help with the ability to multitask. The brain will be ready to do many things at one time like it did when the child was younger learning a language.
It works for the same for senior citizens with Alzheimer: those that were raised bilingual tend to delay or slow down dementia symptoms by five years.