Benefits of a Multilingual or Bilingual Brain

Benefits of a Multilingual or Bilingual Brain

There’s no doubt speaking more languages make life easier, make work smoother, and make entertainment more enjoyable. It’s especially so in our globalized world. Ease and convenience aside, let’s explore what exactly bilingualism or multilingualism does to our brain and what benefits there are to having a bilingual brain, or even a multilingual one.


The Benefits of A Bilingual Brain

In this video from TED-Ed, Mia Nacamulli details the three types of bilingual brains and shows how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy, complex and actively engaged.

Lesson by Mia Nacamulli, animation by TED-Ed
Copyright of TED-Ed


The language capabilities of the brain are split into:

  • 2 Active Parts
    • Speaking
    • Writing
  • 2 Passive Parts
    • Listening
    • Reading

Depending on the way we acquire and learn languages, we process languages differently. This affects the way we process and understand the world around us. With recent advances in neuroimaging, studies have given researchers, linguists, and educators a glimpse into how language learning affects the brain. Neurolinguists explore the following processes of the brain in terms of:

  1. Left Brain Hemisphere – Analytical
  2. Left Brain Hemisphere – Logical
  3. Right Brain Hemisphere – Emotional
  4. Right Brain Hemisphere – Social


Monolingual? Bilingual? Multilingual? Or Polyglot?


So, do you belong to the bilingual majority? Yes, the world indeed has more bilinguals than monolinguals. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. In fact, the majority of the world’s population is either bilingual or multilingual.

  • Monolingual: A person knowing only one language (40% of world population)
  • Bilingual: A person using or able to use two languages especially with equal fluency (43% of world population)
  • Trilingual: A person speaking three languages fluently (13% of world population)
  • Multilingual: A person who speaks more than two languages, but often uses four languages or more (3% of world population speak more than 4 languages)
  • Polyglot: Someone with a high degree of proficiency in several languages (less than 1% of world population speaks 5 languages fluently)


From the video, you can understand a little more about how a bilingual brain processes information, how multilingualism affects the brain physically, how it gives prolonged health benefits, and of course, cognitive advantages that extend into your daily lives and careers.

Polyglots can rejoice!

And if you want to become a multilingual person or a polyglot, it’s never too late to take the linguistic leap! Start learning a new language now!



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