Buenos días! Fermoso día!

by Martha Foster RTOERO Chair

What a great time to be reading about, and perhaps undertaking, travel. As the snow flies and the days get colder, many of us think about travelling to warmer climates, and many of these destinations do not have English as their primary language. 

What a great time to expand your brain and to pick up a little of the language of the area you’re planning to visit. It’s great fun to be able to converse, even a little, in the language of the people with whom you are spending time. You can talk to people outside the usual tourist spots. You can ask questions. You don’t need a tour guide or someone else to speak on your behalf.

Wait, there is more!

Recent studies have shown that learning two or more languages may help to avoid developing dementia — or at least stave it off. Many factors play a role in developing dementia and increasing the likelihood of getting the disease, but learning another language is one way to reduce that likelihood.

Why is this the case? That’s the million-dollar question. It does not appear to be higher levels of education but rather the act of engaging the area of the brain that learning a second language stimulates. Possibly it’s the process of language switching that helps. The speaker needs to turn on one language and turn off the other.

Research in this area is ongoing, but so far the data seems to support the idea that learning a second language can lessen the likelihood of developing dementia. So, as a part of preparing for your next trip, pick up that other language you’ve been talking about learning. You’ll be able to engage more with the people of the country you’re visiting and keep yourself and your brain healthier, longer.

For more information: cbsnews.com/news/learning-another-language-may-help-delay-dementia/

Bon voyage!