If you can understand what each of these greetings means, chances are that you speak more than one language. However, did you know that simply knowing multiple languages can help your brain function better? Over the years, scientists have discovered that children who learn multiple languages gain several cognitive, social, and emotional advantages that can result in improved academic performances and higher confidence levels. Here are some more ways that children can benefit from learning multiple languages:
Heightened Cognitive Ability
Learning two languages enables greater brain activity in children that can result in improved problem solving, critical thinking, and listening skills. Studying more than one language requires children to develop more flexible thinking patterns that allow them to easily switch between different languages. One scientific study found that learning multiple languages causes more brain activity in different regions of the brain, resulting in heightened brain development for bilingual children.
While all children may not have the advantage of growing up in a bilingual environment, studying a second language at a school-going age can provide children with cognitive as well as social benefits. As a part of learning a second language, children also understand and develop an appreciation for the culture to which the language belongs. It will provide them with the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and interact with other people and children who they may not have spoken to otherwise. This enables them to develop a broader understanding of the world and will go a long way in creating a culturally sensitive and tolerant citizen of the future.
Recognizing Your Roots
In addition to learning about other cultures, becoming better equipped in one’s mother tongue or regional language can also help children develop an understanding of their own culture, a matter that has become of increased importance in a globalized world. Sanskrit is one of the world’s oldest recorded languages with many ancient Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts being written in it. Learning and understanding a language such as Sanskrit, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, or Malayalam, can help children add depth to their understanding of their own cultural identity.
What We Can Do
The best way for children to learn multiple languages is to start young. Being in India, it’s likely that there are at least two languages spoken in your home. A child would benefit immensely from simply being spoken to and engaged within multiple languages. For monolingual households, there are still opportunities within schools to learn additional languages that children can take advantage of.