Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingual- ism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.
This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.
They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.
A collective evidence from a number of studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function—a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind, like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.
And the key difference between b
We can learn from the first paragraph that being bilingual ________.
can make you more intelligent
can improve your behavioral competence
may keep you physically healthy in old age
can help you talk with more people
Researchers, educators and policy makers through much of the 20th century thought that bilin-gualism ________.
developed children’s learning ability
impeded children’s development in learning
improved children’s intelligence
strenghtened children’s cognitive skills
We can learn from Paragraph 3 that the interference ________.
compels the brain to settle dispute
forces the brain to develop conflict
helps weaken the mind’s cognitive muscles
makes one language system obstruct the other
Of the following points, which is NOT the characteristic of the brain’s so-called executive function?
Executive function is a system that makes orders.
Executive function helps people concentrate on things.
Executive function deals with people’s mental problems.
Executive function makes people store information in mind.
The passage mainly talks about ________.
the difference between bilinguals and monolinguals
a different view on bilingualism
the explanation of why bilinguals are smarter
the advantage of being a bilingual