Tag: Bilingual


Share with your friends


Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

Hablar dos idiomas es útil, práctico y a veces puede ser un reto, pero ¿sabías que también hace que seas más inteligente? Lee este interesante artículo del New York Times para saber cómo es posible.

Here are some key excerpts:

But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.


“Bilinguals have to switch languages quite often — you may talk to your father in one language and to your mother in another language,” says Albert Costa, a researcher at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain. “It requires keeping track of changes around you in the same way that we monitor our surroundings when driving.” In a study comparing German-Italian bilinguals with Italian monolinguals on monitoring tasks, Mr. Costa and his colleagues found that the bilingual subjects not only performed better, but they also did so with less activity in parts of the brain involved in monitoring, indicating that they were more efficient at it.

And the benefits are not only for young people, since recent studies have shown that bilinguals “were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset.”

Lee el artículo completo aquí: Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

Share with your friends


Arizona news anchor defends her pronunciation of Spanish words during English broadcasts

According to this interesting article from The New York Times, Arizona anchor Vanessa Ruiz took some time on air to respond to viewers’ comments about the way she pronounces certain words and why she rolls her Rs. Here are some excerpts from her statement and the article:

In the broadcast, Ms. Ruiz said, “Some of you have noticed that I pronounce a couple of things maybe a little bit differently than what you are used to, and I get that, and maybe even tonight you saw a little bit of it.

“I was lucky enough to grow up speaking two languages, and I have lived in other cities, in the U.S., South America, and Europe,” she continued. “So yes, I do like to pronounce certain things the way they are meant to be pronounced. And I know that change can be difficult, but it’s normal and over time I know that everything falls into place.”

The use of Spanish in the United States has been contested in a range of ways over the years, from objections to its use in the Pledge of Allegiance; to casual conversation on school buses, such as in Nevada; and in a New Mexico supermarket accused of having singled out Spanish-speaking employees with an“English-only” policy, according to some of the cases pursued by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The United States has more than 55 million Hispanics and, according to the 2011 American Community Survey, 38 million residents age 5 and older who speak Spanish at home. But questions about the use of Spanish persist.

According to Ms. Kotzambasis, the station’s news director, some viewers objected to the way Ms. Ruiz pronounces Mesa, the third largest city in Arizona. “Locals pronounce it ‘May-suh,’ but many Spanish speakers and natives say ‘Mess-uh,’ ” Ms. Kotzambasis said. In addition, she said, viewers noticed that Ms. Ruiz “rolls her Rs when pronouncing Spanish words.”

“That Spanish sound, that’s not what we’re used to listening to in English-language TV,” said Ms. Gonzalez, 35, whose mother is from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, and whose father is from Arizona. “I think I kind of pumped my fist and celebrated. Hey, look, she’s not afraid of her heritage.”


Click here to read the full article: The New York Times.

Share with your friends


Want to Be Smart? Learn a Foreign Language

Need any more motivation to improve your Spanish? Este interesante artículo de BrainBlogger describe algunos de los beneficios de  saber varios idiomas. Here are some key excerpts:

The scientists found that the Spanish-English bilinguals had greater volumes of gray matter than the other two groups. According to the researchers, managing two spoken languages—switching from one to another seamlessly—gives the brain a workout and increases neural flexibility. Bilinguals who are fluent in two tongues have to constantly process two languages and instantly choose which language to speak in to best express their thoughts.

In fact, this is the reason why bilinguals are also better at filtering out irrelevant information and processing greater volumes of data than monolinguals.

The positive changes in the structure and functionality of adult brains indicate that there are anti-aging benefits of learning a new language. Learning a foreign language imparts a protective effect on memory. One study have shown that, after taking into account factors like education, occupation, gender, and where the subjects resided (urban vs. rural), bilingual subjects with dementia manifested symptoms about 4.5 years later than monolinguals with dementia.

In a study carried out on 24-month-old children, it was found that those toddlers who were exposed to a second language during infancy had greater cognitive abilities along with bigger vocabularies in both languages than their monolingual peers. These findings turn on its head the traditional belief that exposing infants to two languages confuses them.


Click here to read the full article: BrainBlogger.

Share with your friends