Learning Foreign Language Triggers Brain Growth

Specialists, Swedish Academy of young translators, discovered that intensive study of foreign to...

Specialists, Swedish Academy of young translators, discovered that intensive study of foreign tongues stimulates the growth of the hippocampus and causes changes in other structures of the brain. Learning languages also helps in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

In the Swedish Academy, young people are offered to study Arabic, Russian or Dari (the language of the Afghan Tajiks) in 13 months. Newcomers had to learn the language all day long, every day, at a very intense pace. Their hard work gave unexpectedly impressive results.

The results were surprising: the structure of the brain of the control group remained unchanged, but the students, who studied a foreign language, had certain parts of their brain increased in size. In particular, the researchers found the "growth" of the hippocampus - the deep structure of the brain responsible for the development of new knowledge, orientation in space and the consolidation of short-term memory into long-term memory.

The group of translator students also showed changes in three areas of the cerebral cortex. The students who showed a bigger growth of the hippocampus and the superior temporal gyrus, had better language skills than other students. Most diligent students also showed the growth in the middle frontal gyrus.

Scientists say that foreign language studies show almost a miraculous effect on the brain. The fact is that the studies of unfamiliar tongues and writings make the brain work as hard as it can. They discovered that all test people, who knew two languages, ​​had increased density of the cerebral cortex in the lower part of the parietal lobe. Those changes were most intense with the participants who spoke two languages ​​from childhood.

However, despite this scientific conclusion, language learning in adulthood and even in old age can do a lot of good.



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