Speaking Spanish and Multi-tasking

By Ricardo Cuevas on August 1, 2012 in Learn Spanish for Kids with 5 Comments

Speaking Spanish and Multi-tasking

Speaking two languages has very clear benefits in our increasingly connected world, even beyond a few brownie points on your resume. But one topic that has been the subject of much discord is whether it actually made kids “smarter”. For a long time smart people all over the world have said that it can interfere with mental development, their main point was that it confused the child and made it more difficult to communicate.

It turns out, they were partially right, what was actually happening was that new areas of the brain were being fired by becoming bilingual. These parts of the brain are not normally used in the everyday communication of a monolingual. This had many scientists believe that it was too difficult for the child trying to become bilingual, whether they natively spoke English and were learning Spanish, or any other combination of multi-lingualism. In reality, what was happening is that the new areas that were being fired had to “develop”. Once developed, it was found that communication was never the same. In the bilingual’s brain both language systems are present and active, even when only one language is being used.

The fact that both language systems are active makes it so that the brain is in effect “working out”, all the time, day and night. That’s why bilinguals seem to be more adept than monolinguals at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles, see the research 2004 research here.

The results of this test combined with many others on the topic suggests that being multi-lingual improves the brain’s executive function. One of the key areas handled by the brain’s executive function is being able to discard distractions and focus, as well as purposely changing focus from one issue to another. This is due to the fact that bilinguals have to currently monitor their environment to see which language system they need to be in. Bilingual’s in this way have a sort of “spider-sense”, where their brain is constantly looking for input on whether it needs to change language systems. In a world where multi-tasking is almost certainly required, being able to focus on a number of different issues and delegate attention appropriately is a huge benefit, and just one of the many of teaching kids Spanish.



  1. jessica warb

    August 17, 2012 at 5:02 pm · Reply

    I have to say that I've seen this in person. My son has made huge leaps since working on Spanish, and not just in his language. He is just more aware and better able to reason. As a mother who spends all day with him, I've seen it first-hand. Thanks for encouraging posts such as this one.

    1. jaket kulit

      September 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm · Reply

      yes i want to can speak spanish

    2. steph ree

      October 15, 2012 at 1:07 am · Reply

      Thank you so much Jessica, Now I want my children able to speak spanish too

  2. Sanjiv Dekstra

    August 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm · Reply

    Go Ricardo! Kid Start Spanish for all! heheh.

  3. Jaket Kulit

    September 3, 2012 at 5:57 am · Reply

    I want my children able to speak Spanish

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