How does Polyglotism affect human brain?

When we are in our grammar years, the ability to learn, two, three or even four languages is highly achievable. New studies are proving that a multilingual brain is quicker and nimbler and able to deal with ambiguities, conflicts, Alzheimer and Dementia much better. A definite realtion between Polyglots and brain functioning compels a lot of public schools to implement language immersion programmes from kindergarten itself.

Intelligent quotient is both genetic and environmental. Even if you are born with phenomenol smart genes but no drive to improve yourself it is of no use. So it’s definitely true that all bilinguals are smarter than monolinguals. Different kinds of studies on the human brain and Polyglotism show that bi-lingual children are more intelligent, verbose and concentrate more than their monolingual friends.

According to linguistic definitions, a polyglot is a person who can speak many languages. To learn a new second language a person should have an active vocabulary of 2000 words, the brain activity of a Polyglot is a trifle different. One theory of Polyglotism says that a higher streak in a baby’s testosterone levels while it is still in the uterus increases brain asymmetry and the second theory suggests that hard work and the right kind of motivation are the key factors. A neuroscientist who studied the brain of Emil Krebs said that the Broca’s area which is responsible for linguistic capabilities was organized in a different way as compared to the brains of people speaking one language. So Polyglots and intellectualism walk side by side.

But it is also a recognized fact that a suffieciently developed intellectual person if optimises his learning technique with experience, he will increase his efficiency in learning each language. Then you can master the new languages with minimum effort. Many different languages overlap in areas of grammar and vocabulary, thus making it easier to connect them, for example French and English or Italian and Spanish.

It has been discovered that the world’s most celebrated polyglot Cardinal Mezzofanti relied on flashcards to learn new languages. Stacks of them have been found in Georgian, Hungarian, Arabic etc. So we can conclude that Polyglots are surely talented but not always geniuses. They enjoy and do the hard work that normal people wouldn’t.

Research suggests that the process of second language acquisition restructures the brain, particularly those who learn their second language early in life show denser grey matter.
Some tips from the Polyglots as to how your brain works when you are learning a new language:

Some learn it for pure fun and for others it’s a tedious job of putting in nine hours a day cramming dozens of languages, alternating with writing Chinese and then Arabic and then hooking upto your headphone while running, simply listening to a book with audio facility in a foreign language will help.

Erard talks about a methodology called shadowing and that is putting on your headphone and listening to a bit of that language you are trying to learn. Then repeat what you hear, loud and clear. Hear, repeat, hear, repeat and walk around. It engages the gross motor skills and removes your focus from your mouth and tongue and also the people staring at you. The key is to learn and enjoy the experience of learning. You can also take the Modern Language Aptitude Test to measure tour strengths and weaknesses, of our phonological loop. Then you can work on them, resetting goals, increasing memory exercises and whatever to improve your skills. Polyglotism energises the brain and your intellect level too shoots up.


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