It has been proven that learning a new language is beneficial to the brain and can open so many doors. But, we sometimes hear that multilinguals are smarter. Is that really true?
While speaking more than one language makes one more adept at multitasking, at conflict resolution, and more effective in interaction with people from different cultures, there doesn’t seem to be any tangible proof that speaking multiple languages automatically makes a person more intelligent.
It certainly takes a lot of work and dedication for anyone to learn a new language. I have learned three additional languages besides my mother tongue. And, sometimes I feel like I have a secret weapon, then I realize a big chunk of the world speaks at least two languages. Being able to speak in other languages has certainly helped in my daily life. I’m not sure if that has increased my intellect in any way.
Many researchers have concluded that there isn’t concrete scientifically proof that multilinguals are smarter, but speaking more that one language requires the brain to make micro-decisions on a regular basis. These decisions strengthen the executive functions that we use for planning and problem solving, such as remembering streets while driving and finding a friend in a crowd.
We should certainly not understate that speaking multiple languages or learning other languages can definitely make one ‘feel’ smarter. As an increase in knowledge always does. Confidence is important and can go a long way.
If speaking multiple languages doesn’t make one smarter, doing so likely increases empathy a bit. This can broaden one’s perspectives and the ability to relate to people from other cultures and backgrounds. We should always strive to be better and smarter.