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Why It's Great to Learn a Second Language

By Julie Davis
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Is learning a second language on your bucket list? Here's compelling evidence to get started right away.

Numerous studies at institutions, including Penn State, have found that learning a new language is great for brain health. It can strengthen your brain just as exercise strengthens your muscles. And like muscles, the more you work at it, the stronger your brain gets.

The parts of the brain that develop in size are the hippocampus and areas in the cerebral cortex. This growth leads to better language skills overall. So, over time, the more you study and practice, the easier learning the language becomes.

Researchers say that people who speak two languages are better able to focus on key information and filter out the rest. This helps you to prioritize tasks and manage multiple projects at once.

And there are long-range benefits, too. The onset of Alzheimer's disease symptoms can be delayed by about four years in people who speak two languages, research has found.

Once you've chosen the language you're most interested in, there are many ways to get started, from online classes to self-driven instruction. Because pronunciation is key to feeling comfortable using a foreign language, make sure that whatever technique you use includes an audio component.

Keep in mind that you need to actively practice your new language to get all the benefits -- using two languages is what works the brain. So, to keep challenging your gray matter, read books and watch foreign films (no cheating with subtitles!) in that language.

If you're feeling adventurous, you might even take a trip to a country where the language is spoken and fully immerse yourself.

More information

The Learning Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers many practical principles of language learning to help you get started.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=729590

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Language
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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