The REAL advantages of bilingualism & multilingualism

child development language acquisition languages Jan 31, 2022

So if being bilingual doesn't necessarily make you better at thinking (the jury is still out on the cognitive 'advantage' for children), what's the benefit of bilingualism?

Truly, there are so many benefits to speaking more than one language that we could fill a whole book.

Aside from the language knowledge itself (it's pretty handy to be able to slip into the language of the person you're negotiating with, for example), there are emotional, social, and even financial benefits to being bilingual.

Switching language depending on context and purpose all the time means that you are more aware that language is something YOU do, choices you make depend on what you'd like to achieve in your communication.

This metalinguistic awareness is very valuable, makes you a better communicator, and also makes you better at learning new languages too.

You're more employable if you speak multiple languages because many employers, from healthcare to government, law to finance, education to hospitality, recognise the value of language skills and often pay you higher wages for the skills you bring.

A newish area of research is looking at how bilingualism fosters empathy, and the benefits of this not just for individuals but for societies and the whole world could be immense. Imagine a world where there was more tolerance, empathy and acceptance of diverse perspectives.

Sounds good to us! What do you think?

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