Top Five Benefits Of Being Bilingual

Pimsleur Approach • August 23, 2011 • Language LearningComments (1)
In the US alone, bilinguals make between 5-20% more per hour than then unilingual people.

In the US alone, bilinguals make between 5-20% more per hour than then unilingual people.

1. Make more money: In many places all over the world, especially in the US, bilingual people make more money than people who speak only one language. In the US alone, bilinguals make between 5-20% more per hour than unilingual people. Using an average salary of $50,000 per year, that would translate to $2,600-$10,400 more per year. Not too shabby! Miami is always at the upper end of that curve, with bilinguals making $7,000 more per year than their counterparts. Above the curve is the US Federal Government, with bilinguals raking in a whopping $12,000 per year more than unilingual people. Imagine the fantastic vacation you could take with that kind of extra cash (bonus: being able to speak the language where you’re traveling!)

2. Read Faster (and thus, get smarter): A study at the University of Ghent in Belgium revealed that bilingual people spent “eight fewer milliseconds gazing at cognate words than control words, which suggests that their brains processed the dual-language words more quickly than words found only in their native language.” (credit: Scientific American.com). This means that they were reading faster, and able to take in more information in less time, in the non-native second language.

3. Exercise your brain: Bilingual people have more active brains than unilingual people, studies show. Even when they don’t realize that they’re thinking in a second language, the brain’s neural pathways are always more active. Their brains are in a constant state of monitoring two languages, even when they’re only speaking in one. This means that the brain is more active 100% of the time more than non-bilingual brains, making bilingual brains much more adept at overall cognition, memory and even brain structure.

4. Boost your self-esteem: Research has proven that being able to communicate with a wider variety of people is good for your self-esteem. At the University of Windsor in Canada, scientists found that bilingual people had a significantly higher level of self-esteem than unilingual people, particularly in the areas of self-confidence and social ease.

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

Image via Wikipedia

5. Sharpen your memory: People who speak more than one language have a better memory than non-bilingual people, and this increases exponentially with the greater number of languages spoken. In a study performed at the Public Research Center for Health in Luxembourg, people who spoke three languages were three times less likely to have memory problems than bilingual people, while people who spoke four languages were five times less likely to have memory problems than those who spoke only two languages. In addition to helping memory, being bilingual is also proven to reduce the risk of developing Alzhiemers.

One Response to “ Top Five Benefits Of Being Bilingual ”

  1. Tanner says:

    Thank you for the information. I’m using the Japanese pimsleur approach right now and it’s great! I’m curious to know what research has been done with respect to how a language sharpens your memory. Are there any peer-reviewed articles with respect to the subject?

    Thanks,
    Tanner

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