Based on decades of research, professor Viorica Marian shares remarkable benefits of knowing more than one language:
- Children who learn a second language gain an earlier understanding that the connections between objects and their names are arbitrary. Understanding that reality is not the same as the symbolic system we use to describe it leads to more developed metalinguistic skills that lay the foundation for even more advanced metacognitive processes.
- Bilingualism may delay Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia by four to six years and provides a protective mechanism for healthier cognitive aging.
- Across the lifespan, the experience of speaking more than one language while controlling interference from the other language(s) improves performance on executive function tasks.
- Knowing multiple languages enables people to make connections between things in ways that others do not see and results in higher scores on creativity and divergent-thinking tasks.
Marian’s 2023 book, The Power of Language, was selected as one of The Next Big Idea Club’s Must-Read Books and will be translated from English into 10 other languages.