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4 key advantages of being bilingual

Monday, 15 May 2017
One of the advantages of being bilingual: being more attractive! One of the advantages of being bilingual: being more attractive! This image is created by Freepik.com

Speaking two languages rather than just one has many practical benefits. Let's see four of the most important advantages in this graded reader at an upper intermediate level.

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Reading comprehension - Upper Intermediate Level

Bilingualism in children and adults and its benefits. There are many advantages to being bilingual but here are the big four:

1.    Bilingual people are more attractive!

270 British dating agencies agreed that in their experience people who speak a foreign language are more attractive as partners.  The most favoured accents are Irish, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese.  Bilingual children also have the social advantage of being able to make friends with a wider range of other nationalities.

2.    Bilinguals are more intelligent!

Recent research shows that bilinguals have better control over the command system in their brains. This means that they have a superior ability to concentrate , solve problems and focus, as well as demonstrating mental flexibility and multi-tasking skills.  In addition, the children raised by bilingual couples are more likely to have better memory and intelligence.

3.    Bilingual people stay mentally fit for longer!

It has been discovered that bilingualism seems to give protection against the effects of dementia.  In tests, bilinguals showed symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease some four to five years after monolinguals. Being bilingual didn't actually prevent people getting dementia but it delayed its effects. Researchers think this is because bilingualism rewires the brain and improves the way it works.  Therefore, when parts of the brain  become damaged or worn out in later life, bilinguals can compensate more because they have extra grey matter and alternative nerve pathways.  However, the effect depends on how often a person uses their bilingual skill - the more it is used, the greater the protective effect.

Bilingualism can also offer protection after brain injury.  In a recent study of 600 stroke survivors, the recovery of brain function was twice as likely for bilinguals as for monolinguals.

4.    Bilinguals have more lifestyle options!

Knowing at least two languages increases a child's awareness of other cultures and equips them as global citizens, widening their horizons and improving their job prospects in later life.  Multilingual employees can expect a salary uplift of up to 20% in certain jobs and over a third of businesses want people specifically for their language skills. So, it literally pays to be bilingual and there are more options open to bilingual families in terms of where to live and their degree of integration. 

 4 key advantages of being bilingual - Comprehension Questions:

1. What is the percentage of people who have dated a person who can speak a different language?

2. What advantages do the children of bilingual couples usually have?

3. According to the article, bilinguals have greater protection against the effects of two illnesses.  What are the two medical conditions mentioned?

4. How much higher are the salaries for bilinguals in certain jobs?

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published in Graded Reading 2017
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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 11:48

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