Afrikaans makes you smarter

…if you learn it to become bilingual, *grin*. It turns out that any two languages will do.

Having been born into a very English-speaking household, making the transition to studying (and often practicing) medicine in a very Afrikaans environment was entertaining, in a darkly-humourous-while-deeply-uncomfortable way. Once, when being interviewed in Afrikaans and asked to describe my abilities to understand and speak the language, I accidentally but likely very accurately exchanged the word for “fluent” (vlot) with the word for “rotten” (vrot). However, the foundations laid in school (where it was a compulsory second language) and six years of an immersive environment has led to me becoming a passable Afrikaner in most situations…and assisted in the acquisition of a beautiful wife along the way.

The perpetual debate for bilingual parents has always been whether to raise children from the outset in one language, and then introduce the other later, or to speak both from the beginning. Common wisdom suggested the former; research is now emerging to suggest that bilingualism is good for the brain in all sorts of ways. This article from the New York Post summarises it nicely.

Lekker, ne? Niks van daai Alzheimers vir my nie! 😉

PS – If two are good, are three better? Hau, eish!

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