A large percentage of the population of the world is bilingual or multilingual today than monolingual. According to Hind Louali, apart from facilitating cross-cultural communication, this trend can affect cognitive abilities positively. According to researchers, a bilingual brain may have improved attention and task-switching in comparison to the monolingual brain owing to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another. While bilingual seniors may experience less cognitive decline, bilingual kids can better adjust to environmental changes.
Hind Louali underlines the advantageous aspects of being bilingual
This is known as language co-activation. When a person hears a certain word, they do not hear the whole thing at once. The sound rather arrives in sequential order. Hence, the language system of the brain starts to guess what the word might be long before it is finished. The brain activates multiple words that might match the signal. This activation is not limited to a single language in the case of bilingual people. Their auditory input activates corresponding words no matter the language they belong to.
The consistent juggling of two languages develops a need to control how much of a certain language one can have access to at any given time. This is a vital skill from a communicative standpoint, as it can be difficult to understand a message in case the other language always interferes. A bilingual speaker can make use of control mechanisms each time they listen or speak. The constant practice goes a long way in strengthening the control mechanisms and even changes the associated brain regions. As per Hind Louali, to maintain the relative balance between two languages, a bilingual brain generally depends on executive functions. This includes a regulatory system of general cognitive abilities like inhibition and attention. As both the language systems of a bilingual person are always competing and active, one has to make use of such control mechanisms every time they interact.
Bilingual individuals ideally show better activation in the brain region associated with certain cognitive skills. Therefore, it would be simpler for a bilingual person in comparison to a monolingual person, to encode what the other person is saying in a noisy restaurant. Today technology has made it easier than ever for people to collaborate with individuals across the planet closely, and opened up a range of brand new opportunities for education, jobs, and businesses. No matter whether one has landed a job in France or considering a degree or course at a French institute, it would be a great advantage to have at least an intermediate proficiency in French.
The neurological and cognitive advantages of bilingualism do extend into older adulthood. With the competent utilization of brain networks for enhancing cognitive reserve, Elderly bilingual individuals enjoy improved memory and better executive control relative to older monolingual people.