How Learning Another Language Helps Your Memory

December 22, 2014 • Rehack Team


Many of us probably agree that it’s pretty cool to know more than one language, and we can agree that it’d definitely come in handy when traveling abroad or communicating with others. However, did you know that it actually works wonders for your mind and memory as well? If you’ve been needing a little push to make your New Year’s resolution learning another language, here it is.

Am I Too Old?

If you’re reluctant to start learning a new language because you think your chance has passed, you’ve missed the window and that you’re simply too old to learn, don’t write yourself off just yet. Science is proving that may not be the case.

Even if you’re not retaining the information as well as you once might have, you’re still exercising your brain. If you think about it, you’re never too old to give your mind a workout. All of this aids your cognitive reserve, which is basically how your brain functions despite aging, disease and other stressors.

According to Rosetta Stone, switching between two languages works the executive function of your brain that deals with planning and prioritizing, while learning the vocabulary and phrases will aid your decision-making skills and reasoning. This helps make you more productive in your daily life.

One study confirmed these findings by testing 262 people who were either 11 or in their 70s. The study found that the people who spoke at least two languages showed superior cognitive abilities. Sixty-five of the contestants had learned a second language after age 18, while 195 learned it prior to age 18, but both groups exhibited better brain functioning.

Warding off Alzheimer’s

This may be the biggest motivator for you to take up a second language. Despite not knowing all of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists are confident that keeping yourself mentally active could help in preventing it. As previously mentioned, one of the best ways to kick your brain into shape is through learning a second language.

In 2011, a Canadian study discovered that people who spoke a second language didn’t display signs of Alzheimer’s disease until about five years after those who don’t speak a second language. They stated that bilingualism won’t necessarily stop the disease entirely, but it could certainly assist in slowing it down. Even just delaying Alzheimer’s existence in your life would allow you to stay productive longer, focusing your attention on what you want to be focusing on.

Get Your Mind Moving

In order to live the long and healthy lives that we strive for, we are constantly trying to improve our daily activities. For some of us this may mean practicing yoga and meditation, going to the gym regularly, eating right by cutting back on sugars and fat, and getting plenty of sleep. However, it’s important not to leave our brains out of the cycle. They also need to be kept fit and exercised all the time, maybe even more than our bodies. Transform your memory, attention, brain growth, perception and listening skills all by investing just a little in your brain.

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from a CD-ROM, download or online subscription to fit your preferences. They’ll even allow you to try out a free demo on the site. Currently they’re offering their $499 package for only $199.

Maybe you’re not ready for such a commitment but would still like to play around with it in your spare time. A free app called Duolingo, available for both iPhone and Android users, may be just what you’re looking for. You can choose from tons of languages, it’s a lot of fun and it’s received rave reviews from The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine.

Regardless of the route you take to learning another language, the most important thing is that you start, because it’s never too late to improve your brain and your future.