New research has shown that bilingual people find it easier to learn a third language, according to Science Daily.
The study was conducted at the University of Haifa, and aimed to find out what, if any, benefits there were in being bilingual when learning another language. The researchers found it was easier for bilingual people to learn a third language as they generally had a better aptitude for languages.
Two groups were involved in the study; the participants in one group spoke Hebrew only (with some English learned in school) and in the other group the mother tongue was Russian, but participants were also fluent in Hebrew. From the article:
This team of scholars also noted that the fact that the Russian speakers had better Hebrew skills than the Hebrew speakers themselves indicates that acquiring a mother tongue and preserving that language in a bilingual environment does not come at the expense of learning a second language — Hebrew in this case. In fact, the opposite is true: fluency and skills in one language assist in the language acquisition of a second language, and possessing skills in two languages can boost the learning process of a third language.
“Gaining command of a number of languages improves proficiency in native languages,” Prof. Abu-Rabia explained. “This is because languages reinforce one another, and provide tools to strengthen phonologic, morphologic and syntactic skills. These skills provide the necessary basis for learning to read. Our study has also shown that applying language skills from one language to another is a critical cognitive function that makes it easier for an individual to go through the learning process successfully. Hence, it is clear that tri-lingual education would be most successful when started at a young age and when it is provided with highly structured and substantive practice,” he concluded. (Source: Science Daily)
So, what are you waiting for? Start learning your second, third, fourth or more language now!