Posted by: janecronin | July 8, 2011

Memory loss and language


Reading an article today about bilingualism and Alzheimers reminded me (ha) of the study produced recently by a Canadian psychologist about the benefits of bilingualism, which include delaying the onset of Alzheimers.

She defines bilingualism as “the habitual use of two languages” as a deterring factor in mental ageing, which puts it within reach for those of us who were not lucky enough to be bilingual from an early age.

As a language teacher I am very aware of the benefits of learning Spanish for older learners.  Often the mere recognition of conceptual and structural  differences between the two languages is beneficial.  Most older learners will not become “fluent”, but they can expand their horizons and improve their quality of life just by learning and using some basic phrases in another language.

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Responses

  1. Absolutely right Jane. An older person might never become fluent in a second language, but the fun it provides and by ensuring the mind is kept challenged and alive, is well worth the effort.


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