The Bilingual Advantage

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two young girls learn American Sign Language in Pittsburgh. (David Fulmer/flickr)

Americans have long debated whether the U.S. should have an official state language. The issue has been back in the spotlight in recent days since Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum said, "There are other states with more than one language, like Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English must be the principal language." However, recent studies show that switching between languages may actually make you smarter. 

switching between languages may actually make you smarter. 

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee is a trilingual staff writer for the journal Science, and a regular contributor to our partner The New York Times and Wired Magazine.


Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

Produced by:

Leanna Orr

Comments [2]

mike beard from boston ma

American schools will never require a student to learn a second language for on simple reason. There isn't ONE college in this country that requires any student to Know one word of a foreigh language for admission to their undergraudate programs.

Mar. 19 2012 01:56 PM

It makes one smarter in what way? The folks I know who are mechanics and IT guys and engineers don't show any more intelligence because they are bilingual. Those I know who are monolingual do just as good. And the two groups of people I know have talents that are both similar and different from each other. What kind of tests are they using to demonstrate this added intelligence?

Mar. 19 2012 09:50 AM

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