Learning a language makes you smarter

Published 2nd April 2012
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It has finally been confirmed that learning a language does in fact increase your intelligence. According to recent statistics by academics from Newcastle and York universities, the knowledge of a second language helps to train our brain, changing the way we think and perceive things. Following extensive research, Professor Vivian Cook and Dr Benedetta Bassetti have come to the conclusion that knowing a second language and having an understanding of language translation not only improves the knowledge of our mother tongue, but also frees our minds from linguistic constraints which make us see the word in a certain way.

Learning a new language allows us to embrace new concepts that are not represented in our native language. A British individual may have a completely different answer to an Italian speaker when asked what they think of ‘lunch’, to whom it would mean a pasta dish followed by a meat or vegetables. The same goes for our knowledge of colours. In English there are two main shades of blue – dark blue and light blue, whereas to a Polish speaker these two shades are completely different colours, ‘niebieski’ (light blue) and ‘granatowy’ (dark blue). Therefore, when learning Polish, the speaker must be aware of these differences and apply them accordingly.

This view of different aspects in each language has been linked to the theory that bilinguals keep both concepts in mind, which leads them to think ‘in-between’ the two languages, and sometimes even create new concepts which also help with a language translation.

Speaking only one language is said to be the mental equivalent of living a sedentary lifestyle, and learning a language sharpens the brain and also helps postpone dementia. Young children who learn a new language train their brain much faster, and can distinguish the differences between two different languages before they even start to speak.

The knowledge of another language automatically changes the outlook we have on the world and even on the smallest things like the time. For English speaking individual, time goes from left to right, whereas for an Arabic speaker it goes from right to left. There are also feminine and masculine references to nouns in many languages; therefore an Italian speaker may consider a fox to be soft and pretty, because it is grammatically feminine, whereas in Germany a fox is a masculine noun. However a speaker of both Italian and German would have no bias, as their perceptions are not based on grammatical references. These grammatical differences also make it difficult to translate different concepts for a non-bilingual speaker.

At Lingua Translations, because all our staff are linguists, we understand the difficulties a language barrier can cause, and we are here to help with any language translation queries you may have. For more information please visit our translation services page.

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Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

“Lingua Translations provides instant multi-lingual options for TUI’s 24/7 Holidayline, so 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year TUI’s customers are connected to an interpreter instantaneously. This service is designed to help holidaymakers who find themselves in difficulty and require non-English language assistance.

The service offered by Lingua Translations provides us with instant translation for every destination we travel to, and has proved invaluable.”

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