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Learning second language slows ageing of brain, says study

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Children those who speak two languages have better thinking skills, mental agility and better memorising power when compared to single language speaking children. In addition, learning two languages can also slow down the ageing of brain. According to researchers, speaking another minority language can improve the mental level and cognitive functioning of brain and it should also be encouraged in the schools.

For learning two languages, children learn two different sets of grammars and vocabularies which stimulate the brain. Recalling which grammar rule or vocabulary to use at the right time without mixing up between the two languages is a very tough mental tasks and requires lot of effort.

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Lead researcher Antonella Sorace from the University of Edinburgh said that children are discouraged from speaking minority language by parents at home and by teachers in school as they believe that minority language might confuse the kid. However, it was found that bilingual children are better than monolingual students in almost every sense when it comes to mental tasks.

“Bilingual children tend to have enhanced language abilities, a better understanding of others’ point of view, and more mental flexibility in dealing with complex situations,” said Antonella Sorace of the University of Edinburgh.

“They didn’t know a word of Gaelic, so we tested them beforehand and after a week of a very intensive course. And sure enough, when we compared them with other active retired people who were doing a course on something else, we found in those who were doing a language course, the brain responds,” Dr Sorace said.

Previous studies have also suggested that mental diseases like dementia appear four to five years late when compared to monolingual people. This points toward the delayed ageing of the brain. Researchers believe that bilinguals have greater cognitive reserves that delay the ageing of the brain.

Moreover, Dr Sorace said that learning two languages should be made compulsory in schools. In fact, learning two languages should be made compulsory for every course as this will aid in mental stability and thought processing of an individual.

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