Around the world, more than half of people – estimates vary from 60-75% – speak at least two languages. Many countries have more than one official national language – South Africa has 11. And you thought Switzerland had a lot with four?! People are increasingly expected to speak, read and write at least one of a handful of “super” languages, such as English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish or Arabic, as well.
Multilingualism has been shown to have many social, psychological and lifestyle advantages. Moreover, researchers are finding a swath of health benefits from speaking more than one language, including faster stroke recovery and delayed onset of dementia.
Did you know that as a bilingual your brain is continually processing information in both languages?
“Bilinguals are a really a model of cognitive control,” Pennsylvania State University cognitive scientist Judith F. Kroll told Quartz, citing bilinguals’ ability to both hold two languages in their head and expertly switch between them at the right times.