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Understanding How the Brain Speaks Two Languages


Hablan dos idiomas? You should, if you know what's good for you


Fast language learners boast more white matter


By: Roxanne Khamsi

Fast language learners have more white matter and less symmetrical brains, a new scanning study has revealed.


Learning Dialects Changes How The Brain Processes Language

Standard Japanese words activate different brain regions in native Japanese speakers, depending on whether they speak a regional dialect.


White matter structure changes as adults learn a second language.

Schlegel AA, et al. J Cogn Neurosci. 2012.


Do Bilingual Persons Have Distinct Language Areas In The Brain?

A new study carried out at the University of Haifa sheds light on how first and second languages are represented in the brain of a bilingual person. A unique single case study that was tested by Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim of the Department of Learning Disabilities and published in the Behavioral and Brain Functions journal, showed that first and second languages are represented in different places in the brain.


The Bilingual Brain

As scientists unlock more of the neurological secrets of the bilingual brain, they're learning that speaking more than one language may have cognitive benefits that extend from childhood into old age.



Fitting two languages into one brain

By: Stanislas Dehaene

As Europe moves into the next century, the language barrier appears more formidable than ever. Eleven languages are recognized as official languages of the European community, but the actual number of languages needed to operate with other countries must be closer to 40. Multilingualism is a complex problem for the European administration, which has had to appoint the largest translation service in the world, Brussels' Joint Interpreting and Conference Service. But multilingualism also poses special challenges to the human brain. How can cerebral circuits that normally handle a single phonology, lexicon and syntax adapt to the storage of multiple language systems? Consider the case of German and English. Verbs are placed at the end of sentences in German, but not in English. How then do English–German bilinguals avoid mixing up the two sets of rules?


Immersion in a foreign language rewires your brain - especially when you take time off

By: Sophie Bushwick

By the time you reach adulthood, learning a foreign language is a struggle – even after you memorize grammar and vocabulary, there's no guarantee that you'll understand a fast-talking native speaker, and when you stop studying for even a month, you seem to forget everything you'd learned.


Changing your brain by learning other languages at various ages

by Anne Hart

Scientists at The Neuro, McGill University in a new study found an important time factor in second-language acquisition. It seems that the age at which children learn a second language can have a significant bearing on the structure of their adult brain, according to a new joint study by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro at McGill University and Oxford University. Age of acquisition is crucial in laying down the structure for language learning, including other languages.


New Plan to boost the revival of the Cornish Language

The Council of Cornwall approuved a new plan in order to enhance the use of the Cornish language. 


Keep Sharp, Master More Languages, Delay Alzheimer's

A new study shows that bilingual patients did not contract Alzheimer's, the worst phase of dementia until five years later than their monolingual compadres. Mastering a second language can pump up your brain in ways that seem to delay getting Alzheimer's disease later on. 


Resilience, brain workout and foreign language learning

The way resilience and the foreign language acquisition are connected is pretty straightforward. If we are to believe two renowned scientists, one a psychiatrist, the other a neuroscientist, in a recent article in TIME magazine (June 1, 2015), different people have different degrees of resilience. You may ask: so what ? This might explain why some people think they are bad language learners. Not without a reason. Simply, the resilience in that particular psycho-sociological case is not the same for everyone.


Being Multilingual Cuts Risk of Memory Problems


Study Shows Speaking More Than 2 Languages May Protect Against Age-Related Memory Loss



Second Languages Slow Brain Decline

Speaking two languages throughout life may slow the loss of mental agility that comes with age. When seniors were challenged to switch between two basic thought tasks, bilinguals reacted more quickly than those who spoke only English. What’s more, imaging scans showed that older people who had always spoken two languages used their brains more efficiently than single-language speakers.


Being bilingual wards off symptoms of dementia

New research explains how speaking more than one language may translate to better mental health. Scientists examine how being bilingual can offer protection from the symptoms of dementia, and also suggests that the increasing diversity in our world populations may have an unexpected positive impact on the resiliency of the adult brain.

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In the long term I think that being multilingual is of great importance to understanding why other people from different countries act differently.

Stéphanie Surrugue Denmark