“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said lead author Dr. Thomas Bak, of the University of Edinburgh, in a press release. “Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain.”
For the study, researchers relied on data from 835 native speakers of English who were born and living in the area of Edinburgh, Scotland. The participants were given an intelligence test in 1947 at age 11 and then again in their early 70s, between 2008 and 2010.
Findings indicate that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities compared to what would be expected from their baseline. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading.
Sure, there are only a few situations where it makes sense to expect that your child/ren can actually learn a second language from your Au Pair. But, it never hurts to learn a little bit. As long as it’s more than just the swear words.
This is true for parents as well as kids. As the study pointed out: The effects of become bilingual were evident no matter when the second language was learned.