In contemplating the benefits of language study, many of us consider the practical aspects of fluency in a second language. These typically include the ability to communicate with people that we would otherwise not be able to approach for conversation or insight. Another consideration involves understanding language as a cultural construct, and hence knowledge of a second language leads to a deeper appreciation of its culture. A recent article in the New York Times reveals another advantage to achieving fluency in a second language, as it reviews research showing that bilingualism leads to significantly enhanced cognitive abilities. Interestingly, the article points out that these benefits also accrue to those who learn a second language later in life.
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