The effects of bilingualism on the brain

It once was a common misconception that being bilingual worsened your cognitive abilities, confused children or even delayed their development. Numerous studies have now shown the benefits of learning more than one language. At SISD we embrace bilingualism fully as we understand the advantages it gives our students.


Better cognitive function

Scientists have found that when bilinguals use a word in one of their languages, their brain also activates the word in their other language. This is particularly true when words in different languages are phonologically similar but different in meaning. The brain has to rapidly decide which is the right word thus firing the brain up and improving cognitive function.


Improvements in learning

The improved cognitive function that bilingual students possess allows them to process information from their environment more effectively. This was even seen in children as young as 7 months. This allows them to learn faster, focus better and, perform better in school.


Healthier brain, for longer

A study conducted in 2013 showed that bilingual individuals maintained their cognitive function for longer than people who were monolingual. This also means that people who speak more than one language significantly reduce their likelihood of developing dementia or at least delay the onset of symptoms.


Task switching

The ability to switch rapidly between tasks is not an easy feat for everyone. A study conducted in 2017 showed that bilingual children were much more effective at switching between tasks and maintaining their focus. This is explained by the fact that from a young age they must react and understand different systems of language coming from different sources.


Further language acquisition

A study published in the Cambridge University Press studied brain waves and uncovered that bilingual individuals acquired an additional language much quicker than those who only spoke one language. And, more languages, means even better brain health!


Better problem solving and communication skills

Bilingual children will understand from a very young age which language to use with the people in their lives. This improves their ability to react to certain situations and find solutions as they must learn early on how to quickly switch. Furthermore, switching rapidly between languages allows them to develop strong communication skills.


SISD offers two fully immersive bilingual streams: English/French and English/German. We designed our bilingual programmes to offer learners the chance to develop international-mindedness, broaden their skills and capabilities and acquire the information needed to access other cultures. Students learn in a multilingual and multicultural environment that provides them with a wide range of opportunities.


For more information about our multilingual programmes, contact our Admissions team at

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