Doomed for being a monoglot

New research highlighted on the BBC today suggests that people who are bilingual retain mental acuity in old age.   As if I did not already feel badly enough about my English-only skills, now there are actual reasons to suggest that it’s actually more healthy to have expanded one’s language horizons?!?!  Of course, the article does mention other quite sensible things that also appear to fend off dementia, like playing musical instruments and board-games.  All told, it starts to appear quite sensible that my banjo-playing, Scrabble nut nonagenarian grandmother–who speaks Norwegian still on a regular basis–has done all the right things.

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3 responses to “Doomed for being a monoglot

  1. You’ll be okay. For one thing, you have started to learn British English.

  2. Ah, but how does a German speak English with a British accent and sound more Brit than Tony Blair?

    Sprechens me doitch, ich spreke das nikt, when get involved in that grammar I’m licked. The dative case? Bad. The vocab is badder. And getting the throat sound just maketh me madder….

  3. NFAH:

    The German grammar is the superset for English, French and German. Native speakers of English who learn French or German as a second language are at a disadvantage in more ways than one in that not only do they have to learn the concept of case (accusative, genitive, dative etc) but also the allocation of genders (three in case of German) to things for which’it’ sufficed. Having to remember all this probably flexes one’s brain (which is but a muscle) much more than speaking English does…

    I do not know however how the comparison would work for someone who learnt English as a second language but now is fluent enough to think, curse, read poetry and ‘get’ rap lyrics in the language… Try German rap or French rap for comparison. Very different…

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