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Learning Foreign Languages Good for Brain

The results of research carried out by scientists from the University College London seem to have proved that learning a foreign language is good for the brain.

The scientists studied the brains of 105 people, 80 of whom could speak a foreign language. They concluded that learning a foreign language alters grey matter in the brain in the same way that exercise builds muscles.

Scientists already know the brain has the ability to change as a result of stimulation - which is known as 'plasticity' - but this research demonstrates how learning languages develops it.

The scans revealed that the density of the grey matter in the left inferior parietal cortex of the brain was greater in bilinguals than in those without a second language. Just how and why this happens has yet to be explained; however it is one of many recent findings that continue to drive the same message - learning a foreign language is good for you.

The findings also pointed out that people who learned a foreign language at a younger age were also more likely to have more advanced grey matter than those who learned later.

The UK is notoriously bad for language skills. Learning foreign languages is commonly something undertaken at school and forgotten at work. Only one in 10 UK workers can speak a foreign language. This is resulting in the UK being less effective when dealing with the continent and further a field in political, economic and cultural spheres.