The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Why you need to learn foreign languages, even if you do not plan to immigrate


Source: Clever

If you are not going to permanent residence in another country, is it worth it to bother with learning a foreign language? On a trip, you can perfectly do without it. Such an opinion can often be heard not only from our compatriots, writes "Smart".

Photo: Shutterstock

However, the scientific world strongly disagrees with this approach. And this is not only a matter of the general level of development of schoolchildren and many more advantages that knowledge of at least one foreign language gives, it is also a state of mental health in old age.

A group of neuropsychological scientists examined the brain of professional translators. It turned out that when learning a foreign language, the brain grows in the literal sense: the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is involved in the consolidation of memory, that is, in the translation of short-term memory into long-term memory), as well as some parts of the cerebral hemispheres increase.

Then research continued. A group of 211 elderly people with Alzheimer's disease was selected. 102 people of them spoke two or more languages, and 109 - only native. It turned out that the first signs of Alzheimer's disease in bilinguals (people who speak two or more languages) occurred on 4,3 a year later than in the second group. By the state of dementia, the development of the disease in bilinguals led five years later than among those who did not learn languages ​​at all.

On the subject: Language heirs: how immigrant children support Russian in the USA

This is confirmed by Canadian scientists, who as a result of experiments have established: bilinguals, due to the development of neural connections, push back memory loss for several years. Their brains remain in greater safety, which helps to have a good memory longer and subsequently significantly delay the decline of intellectual abilities.

Anglo-American translator, author of classical translations of many works, Viktor Golyshev speaks about the increase in the volume of speech-related brain formations in teaching the second and subsequent languages. He cites research by scientists who have demonstrated this with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, it has been established that people who know more than one language have better developed cognitive (cognitive) skills. “It has long been observed that the poverty of the language correlates with the lack of mental development,” says Viktor Golyshev. This confirms the expression of the philosopher Ludmig Wittgenstein "the limits of our knowledge are determined by the limits of our language."

Neuro-linguist, doctor of philological sciences, doctor of biological sciences, professor at St. Petersburg State University Tatyana Chernigovskaya believes that, having only a native language, we exist in one world that is limited to this language. Knowledge of foreign languages ​​"introduces us to other civilizations." The professor has no doubt that in any science, be it physics or computer science, not to mention literature, everything cannot be learned only through translations. Working with language originals, a person expands the range of his own knowledge. This, in turn, allows him as long as possible to have a "bright head" and a good memory.

“Languages ​​affect thought processes, memory, and personality,” said Alexander Kaplan, doctor of biological sciences, psychophysiologist, head of the laboratory of neurophysiology and neurointerfaces at Moscow State University. How this happens is described in detail in the papers of Judith Kroll, a professor of psychology, linguistics, and women's studies at Riverside University in California. Her specialization is psycholinguistics, where she pays special attention to mastering a second language and bilingual language processing. As soon as any information enters the human brain from the outside, it immediately modifies the neural connections. In this sense, the thinking activity of a bilingual will never be equivalent to a monolingual, that is, speaking only one language. The fact is that bilingual, receiving information, literally on the machine reproduce it in their own two languages, even when the conversation takes place in one. Scientists believe that it is this property that helps people who speak several languages ​​to develop brain control functions and, at the same time, show greater cognitive flexibility compared to monolinguals.

Psychologist from the University of Toronto, Ellen Bialistok, is actively developing the idea of ​​“bilingual cognitive superiority” that emerged in the eighties of the last century. Over 30 years, as a result of a large amount of research, scientists have found that bilinguals, starting from childhood, perform tasks assigned to them faster and better, demanding a diversion of attention, solving situations related to cognitive dissonance, or choosing to match the query and information. This is well traced throughout the life of bilinguals and even in extreme old age sharply distinguishes their mental abilities against the background of monolinguals.

On the subject: Ticket, building and songs Allegrova: how Russian Brooklyn speaks and lives

During one of the experiments, quite complex tests were offered to people who speak two or more languages, and those who owned only one. The sample included subjects from different age groups. As a rule, young people are much easier to cope with logical tasks and the transition from one type of tasks to another than people at the age of 50. But for bilinguals this difference was not so noticeable in comparison with those who did not burden themselves with learning languages.

An interesting opinion was expressed by an employee of the Neurolinguistics Laboratory of the University of Maryland (USA) Anna Lukyanchenko. She believes that a person who knows only one language becomes less tolerant, more suspicious and limited. With age, these shortcomings grow incredibly. As a rule, those familiar with another culture in its language and literature, such character vices are not typical, as a last resort, not in such a categorical form.

Follow success stories, tips, and more by subscribing to Woman.ForumDaily on Facebook, and don't miss the main thing in our mailing list