Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Can Learning a New Language Help Improve Memory?

Have you heard about digital amnesia?

It's probably not that surprising when you really stop and think about it, but studies are showing that peoples ability to remember things is declining...and the culprit? Is apparently technology!

Nowadays, we are entrusting our phones with all the things we used to remember on our own, which means that as we are relying on our own memories less we are actively diminishing its abilities...if you think of the memory as a muscle, it's fair to conclude that we are exercising it far less frequently than we once did...now that must of us have our very digital assistant in our pockets at all times. One in two people can't remember their children's phone number, one in three can't even remember their partner's phone number. 

I have to admit that this doesn't really come as a huge surprise to me, I know that I used to be able to memorise my boyfriends mobile phone number as well as my parents numbers but now? I honestly do not have a clue what my partners number is! Because every time I text or call him, I simply click on his name in my phone...I can't even remember the last time I had to dial him manually. 

So with technology now such an every day part of most peoples lives, how can we improve our ability to remember? Well studies show that learning languages can help the brain improve concentration and aid memory, as explained in the infographic "SOS memory: does learning languages help the brain?" by Babbel, the world's first language learning app.

From Plato's aversion for writing, the culprit of taking away some of our memory, to fun facts about polyglots and the language of space, this infographic will take you on a journey into our ability to remember, and the help that learning one or more languages can provide.

Short lessons, a new routine and spaced repetition are all useful tips and practices to help one's memory not only with a new language, but also in all everyday situations, as proven by a Swedish study: Those who take language courses are better at remembering names of the people they just met.  

So it seems that learning a new language is not only a key life skill, but also something that could help to improve your memory and therefore benefit your life in other ways. As somebody who started to learn Italian during the first lockdown, this is something I am very pleased to hear and it really does spur me on to continue!

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