On Monday, Canada will celebrate Victoria Day in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. She sat on the throne of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1876 and was known as the Empress of Canada. It was during her reign that the Province of Canada started celebrating the Queen’s birthday as it both celebrated a beloved member of the royal family and marked the unofficial start to warmer weather.
There are many surprising things to learn about the Grandmother of Europe such as the fact that she was a hemophiliac, she proposed to her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and she spoke four languages: German (her first language), English, French and Hindustani.
Due to the fact that she learned most of these languages at a very young age, Queen Victoria would be considered a compound multilingual as her brain was simultaneously developing with multiple languages.
While the basic advantages to being bilingual or multilingual are well-known, what are the benefits to the brain of someone who knows a number of languages like Queen Victoria?
When languages are learned at a young age they are processed using both sides of the brain. This means that there is a more holistic understanding of the emotional and logical contexts of the language. Furthermore, there is also a higher density of grey matter and more overall activity in a multilingual brain which can reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The part of the brain responsible for problem solving and multitasking also tends to be strengthened in individuals who know more than one language. (Nacamulli, Mia, The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain)
We may never know the full impact that knowing multiple languages had on Queen Victoria, while she reigned as Queen, but we do know how much of an impact it can have now. So, on this upcoming Victoria Day do your brain a favour and start learning that second language you have always been meaning to learn.
We at Able wish you a happy and safe long weekend!
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