How fast does your brain process an unknown word? Doctors in Finland try and medically answer this question. They hooked up 10 men and 12 women to an EEG machine and gave them words to process. Most of these Finnish men and women had learn and mastered 3-6 languages throughout childhood.
Doctors found that the more the brain is exercised and stretched through learning languages, the better able it was to figure out an unknown word. So let’s work out those brains on Saturday with the start of German School! Think of it as going to a gym for your brain.
Around the world, more than half of people – estimates vary from 60 to 75 per cent – speak at least two languages. Many countries have more than one official national language – South Africa has 11. People are increasingly expected to speak, read and write at least one of a handful of “super” languages, such as English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish or Arabic, as well. So to be monolingual, as many native English speakers are, is to be in the minority, and perhaps to be missing out.