Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Speaking More Than One Language can Delay Onset of Dementia

Speaking two or more languages can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years.  These are the findings of a study conducted by Edinburgh University and Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India.  They examined 650 dementia patients.  The patients who were bilingual or multilingual had a much later onset of dementia than the ones who only spoke one language.

And it doesn’t matter if a person is illiterate.  People who can’t read or write still get the mental health benefits of speaking two or more languages.  Education level, occupation, gender and whether a person lives in an urban or rural environment — none of these factors matter.  Any way you look at it — to paraphrase Mel Brooks — it’s good to speak two languages.

According to the linked article:

“The researchers suggested bilingual switching between different sounds, words, concepts, grammatical structures and social norms constituted a form of natural brain training, which was likely to be more effective than any artificial brain training program.”

A professor from Edinburgh University said:

“These findings suggest that bilingualism might have a stronger influence on dementia than any currently available drugs.  This makes the study of the relationship between bilingualism and cognition one of our highest priorities.”

I wonder if dementia even exists in Holland — especially Amsterdam — where it seems every man, woman and child is fluent in half a dozen languages.  I remember standing in line at an information booth in Amsterdam; everybody in front of me was a different nationality.  The woman behind the counter was totally unfazed, rattling off one detailed answer after another in Spanish, German, Tagalog, Chinese, you name it.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have our own flagwaving Klanbaggers clamoring to Make English Americas Offical Language.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

most other countries are bordered by others that have different languages . That is one reason. Note that many US citizens are also now bilingual in español as well as englesia . It's all about demographics.

November 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always understood that as part of the Swedish Educational System you are required to learn 5 languages (some are electives). I also imagine in Belgium you have to learn at least French, Flemish, and German.

I'm still having problems with English Though as in the movie "Airplane" I do speak Jive



November 7, 2013 at 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come to think about it, I remember getting in an argument with one Frenchman who talked about how Americans are so narrow minded about other cultures and only speak one language etc.,

I pointed out that the main reason why so many Europeans speak so many languages is because the borders have changed so often. In other words, they've been invaded.

We in the United States have never been invaded, we would be a different country if we had.


November 7, 2013 at 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

This is very interesting. I wonder if it's because your brain is always working on figuring out what words to use with each language, keeps the brain excercising. I can speak French, conversational Spanish and I have been learning Punjabi for the last year or so.

November 7, 2013 at 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Circle Girl said...

I wish they would bring back foreign language requirements for high school. I had four years of German and two years of Latin, and it definitely enriched my life.

And if it helps stave off Alzheimer's, so much the better!

November 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: True, demographics play a large role in this.

Erik: I didn't know that about Sweden, but it makes sense. Belgium too, since they have 3 official languages.

The U.S. has been the country that's doing the invading, instead of being invaded. That probably isn't increasing Americans' bilingual ability, other than soldiers who come home knowing a smattering of Arabic, Farsi, Vietnamese, etc.

Jess: Sounds like you're on your way to a long un-senile life. I know some French and German and a smattering of several other languages.

Circle Girl: I guess foreign languages and "the arts" have fallen by the wayside and are deemed "non-essential."

November 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger jadedj said...

¿Qué era este artículo?


Was ist dieser Artikel?

November 9, 2013 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

jadedj: Der Artikel ist auf BBC, aber Englisch ist immer die offizielle Sprache.

November 9, 2013 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Circle Girl said...

jadedj, good for you! And Tom, nice use of German. I'm impressed!

November 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM  

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