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What Are Monolinguals Missing out on?

Many people around the world invest a lot of time, money and effort into studying new languages. The reasons are generally the same: to improve their chances of success at work, to be able to travel and be understood, to be able to live abroad and respect the locals, or just as an intellectual challenge.

People learn other languages ​​usually due to necessity, when their native language is not enough to achieve their goals. Now, what about people born in a country where everyone speaks one language and in which there are no nearby countries where other languages ​​are spoken? What advantages are lost by not exercising the mind by learning a new language? A typical example is the case of the United States, which, despite having a growing Latino influence, it is not necessarily vital for Americans to learn Spanish or any other language. With English as one’s mother tongue, he/she can travel the world and be understood and enjoy a wide-reaching comfort zone globally. In many cases, this may be simply due to a lack of interest in other cultures.

But by speaking only one language we lose a great deal of brain power. The mind, like the body, must be trained, and learning languages is a fantastic exercise; not only does it help to improve memory, but also to achieve better results in learning in general. According to recent studies, people who speak two or more languages ​​are less likely to suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s. Therefore, studying languages contributes to increased mental and cognitive agility and pattern recognition, which is of enormous importance in different areas of our lives. Additionally the brains of multilinguals consume increasingly less energy than those of monolinguals when solving problems.