Benefits of being bilingual

According to today’s news, one of the benefits of being bilingual has been scientifically examined as described in this internet news: Brain scans show being bilingual can delay Alzheimer’s. This is not surprising for me because I know, of course, that being bilingual requires high level brain activities. It is good to know it has been scientifically studied.

This story reminds me of a president of a micro company in Japan that I worked for. He was around 60 then, assumed he was smart, assumed he was bilingual, and he suffered dementia. You may think I am exaggerating something, but it’s true. He suffered dementia and still served as a president. It was a micro company. Anyways. As the internet news says, being bilingual cannot prevent dementia. It delays the process. One could conclude that his brain was severely damaged but the symptom was not as severe as monolinguals whose brain is equally damaged. But for me it’s more natural to conclude that he was not truly bilingual. Actually his “English” sounded like Japanese and he did not recognize it. Without recognizing it, there is no way to correct it.

When FIFA word cup was held in Japan in 2002, a German player caught people’s attention due to his wild behavior. Despite of his acts on the field, according to some sources, he is a smart guy. He knew he would not make a living as an athlete for many years, and while he was one of the world best soccer players, he studied economics to prepare for his life after retirement as an athlete. I was impressed. Unlike his case, few people can prepare for their life after retirement as a brain worker (I’m not talking about something like pension plan). What we can try is to work longer as a brain worker. The president described above knew that he could not judge things properly, but did not admit that. Instead, he tried hard to find and point out people’s mistakes to show that he is smarter than other people, which never worked out. This is not what people should do.

Fortunately I like learning. It seems that there are lots of opportunities to abuse my brain to delay dementia. I know my English is still to be improved. So is design skill. Let’s keep learning to increase more job opportunities and also to work longer as a brain worker.

November 7, 2013Permalink