Being Bilingual: Benefits, Statistics and More
Multicultural families are far from few and in between these days. When two cultures are combined, beautiful things can happen, and one of the primary things that we see is the opportunity for a child to be bilingual.
LingoDodo came to be because of the struggle that we had teaching our daughter a second language that was a major part of our culture. While we could have struggled to teach our children this major component of who we are, we found a solution: the Punjabi Pad.
Being Bilingual Today
The benefits of being bilingual are truly endless. In 1980, only 10.97% of the U.S. population spoke a language other than English at home. Fast forward to 2007 and we see that nearly 20% of people are speaking a language other than English at home. This number continues to grow, especially as we start to see the benefits of being bilingual play a part in daily life.
When we look at the world as a whole, there are actually more people who speak multiple languages than there are people who speak solely one. Currently, 56% of the world speaks more than one language!
While it was once not a common skill to speak more than one language, there have been various benefits that have been tied to being bilingual over the years. The younger that a child learns a second language, the more likely they are to retain it. Given how incredible some of these benefits are, the best thing that we can do is to share them with you.
Prevention of Dementia
A developmental issue that we see within health care is dementia, and it’s pretty common throughout the entire world. Whether it’s dementia tied to old age or Alzheimer’s, it has been shown that individuals who speak two or more languages will not develop these conditions until later on in life.
Individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's and speak more than one language will take twice as long to develop the symptoms. In terms of dementia, the average age of a monolingual individual developing dementia is 71.4, while the average for bilingual individuals is 75.5. It may not seem like much, but these numbers show that speaking more than one language can, very literally, add years to your life.
Tied very closely to this is the benefit of an enhanced memory. Being able to maintain two languages and an understanding of the two is extremely challenging. Aside from that, it requires knowledge of vocabulary, grammatical rules, spelling, writing, and so much more. As a whole, this builds your mental muscles quite a bit.
Building these muscles helps bilingual individuals with their memory, and allows for them to understand patterns, sequence, and steps. Over a lifetime, these skills will prove to be helpful in day-to-day life and boost the ability to memorize as a whole.
Multitasking & Attention to Detail
Another huge benefit of being bilingual is the ability to multitask and pay better attention to detail. When you’ve gained comfortability with two languages, your mind will be able to switch from one to the other as needed. As crazy as it may sound, this makes it much easier to switch from one task to the other.
The ability to multitask goes beyond switching between activities. Being able to pay attention to detail and focus on the task at hand is another strong suit of bilingual individuals. This benefit is also tied to the ability to switch from one language and culture to another.
Strong Communication Skills
Communication is utilized on a day-to-day basis across all industries, online and offline. The need to communicate is one that every person needs to obtain, in one manner or another. By being able to speak two languages, the ability to communicate and understand social cues increases immensely.
Cultures and the way that they communicate will vary, but exposure to various cultures allows for individuals to gain perspective on so many different types of people and situations, and to store it in their brain. Because of this, people who are bilingual have stronger communication skills and will often have stronger relationships because of it. Whether it’s in a professional or personal aspect, this development can be seen clearly, and it’s almost always tied to the experience of being bilingual.
Self Identity & Culture
The benefit that we can’t put a value on is the tie to a specific culture that a child gains. While traveling and learning can spark an interest, there’s something much different about creating that bond that dives into history and identity.
By providing your child with the tools that they need to be bilingual, you are opening a door for them. What’s to follow through that? Well, we can never truly know.
What we do know, however, is that your child will have a new piece to the puzzle of their identity. That their life will be changed by the lessons they come across when learning a new language. That they will carry this part of their history with them for the rest of their life. We also know that we can help.
The benefits that we’ve listed above are a brief overview of the many ways that speaking multiple languages and being exposed to various cultures can shape a life. There are still so many other ways that children and adults alike will see the addition of another language affect them—and that thought alone excites us.
If you’ve been struggling to find a way to help your child learn Punjabi and the cultural values that we all hold dearly, the Punjabi Pad can help. Let us guide the way to your child developing a new sense of themselves and of their history. Reach out to us today if you have any questions, but make sure to look at the toys that we’ve created and the testimonials of individuals who have shared this toy with their family.