The superpower qualities of a bilingual brain

The superpower qualities of a bilingual brain

Speaking another language is a SUPERPOWER!

With a whopping half of the human population being bilingual, the skill of speaking two languages is viewed in today’s world is vital for both your career prospects and your personal life.

Multilingualism, the skill of mastering multiple languages, is increasingly highly-priced these days, with individuals all over the world reaping its benefits. What benefits do you ask?

Imagine yourself as a bilingual, speaking both your native language and English fluently:

However, knowing multiple languages does have certain setbacks…

There is a possibility of losing command of your mother tongue if you do not speak it often enough. Languages are tricky and if you do not practice them, they will leave you. Even your native language, surprising as it is! The key is to stay in touch with people who speak with you in your language as well.

I can start forgetting any language I don´t regularly practice, even my mother language!
- Zora, Czech Republic

Most bilinguals, despite they can comfortably switch between languages and have fluent conversations on any topic in both, say that it feels as if they can speak, say, 95% of two languages, rather than a 100% of one.

A Chinese proverb as shared with me with my student Seth from China says: 

 

The depth of your thinking is decided by the level to which you mastered your native language.
- Chinese Proverb

It doesn’t seem to matter how many languages you speak. If you are not used to thinking deep and educating yourself in your first language, it is not likely you will be able to sound educated in another one.

It can be a challenge to switch between the languages comfortably. Different languages have a different sentence structure, some start sentences with a subject, others with an object, yet others with verbs. Switching between them quickly can influence your sentence structure in the other language you are using at that time.

What do multilinguals have to say about all this?

This is something that many multilinguals notice:

Who they are and how they speak and act changes a little bit from language to language, depending on the current language cultural background.

Many also report sounding differently in each language, having a different voice. I myself can witness to that.

It opens the world for me so I can watch what I want, read what I want and meet people from any country. Also, my personality is a little different in each language I speak.
- Pavla, Czech Republic (speaks 4 languages)
I was able to apply to jobs abroad and work with teams composed of members from across several countries. Adding the English language to my portfolio of knowledge, I was able to move my life to a different country and reinvent my life without the shackles and barriers that different languages pose to many other non multi language speakers face. Knowing more than a language doesn't mean just that I can speak with people from different countries, it also means I'm better equipped to understand their culture and their background. When learning their language, you are gaining the understanding of what they are and what they strive for. When you are able to communicate with the same language... sometimes you get to a point where words are no longer even necessary.
- Tiago, Portugal (speaks 2 languages)
Speaking English opened the doors to the world for me. Understanding the natives and orientating myself in the country gave me a good feeling of confidence!
- Thiago, Brazil (speaks 2 languages)
People trust you more when you speak their language. They open up to you faster and share with you easier in their own language. You are able to understand people’s personalities better due to your knowledge of their cultural background and they accept you easier as their own. You are able to express yourself better with words and expressions that might not exist in other languages and this also broadens your horizon. Speaking multiple languages is one of the most important skills in my life and one of the skills I’m most proud of. This is because it makes me feel much more confident in myself, knowing that I can handle any situation that might come up with my overall communication skills and confidence.
- Anna, Italy (speaks 4 languages, learning 2 more)
Thank you for sharing
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