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It’s never too late

If you believe it’s easiest for young children to learn an additional language you wouldn’t be wrong, but it seems age is really no barrier to adding another language to our brains. In fact, there could be distinct advantages to learning an additional language later in life.

As recently reported in Discover Magazine, John Grundy, assistant professor and neuroscientist at Iowa State University, with a special interest in bilinguilism, said, “There is a consistent finding that bilinguals are able to stave off symptoms of dementia for about four to six years compared to monolinguals.”

And it seems that to acquire a further language when you’re older, it’s not so much about when you learn, but how, according to Ashley Chung-Fat-Yim, a post-doctoral researcher at Northwestern University looking at neurological differences between monolinguals and bilinguals. If you immerse yourself in the new language – ideally by visiting a country where it’s spoken – and practise as much as possible, it’s easier to learn and you will reap the advantages of creating more neural connections and plasticity in your brain, thus keeping it efficient and boosting cognitive ability however old you are.

Image courtesy of Andreea Popa on Unsplash
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Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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