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Language Learning Makes the Brain Grow



The brain needs exercise in much the same way our muscles do, and the right mental workouts can significantly improve our basic cognitive functions. Thinking is essentially a process of making neural connections in the brain and since these connections are made through effort and practice, scientists believe that intelligence can expand and fluctuate according to mental effort.



Read the text Language Learning Makes the Brain Grow, Swedish Study Suggests Then read the sentences below and decide if they are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The author of the text suggests that learning languages is a good way to keep the brain in a good state of health.
  2. At the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy in the city of Uppsala, young people with a knack for languages go from having basic knowledge of a language such as Arabic, Russian or Dari to speaking it fluently in the period of 13 months.
  3. The Swedish scientists have measured brains before and after language training and suggest that language learning makes the brain grow.
  4. As a control group, the researchers used physics students at Umeå University – students who study very hard but do not study languages.
  5. The scientists were not surprised that different parts of the brain developed to different degrees depending on how well the students performed and how much effort they had had to make during the course.
  6. The areas of the brain in which the changes occur are thus linked to how easy one finds it to learn a language and development varies according to performance.
  7. Previous research from other groups has indicated that bilingual or multilingual groups have no chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease.


[Answers: 1.T,  2.F,  3.T,  4.F,  5.F,  6.T,  7. F]


Complete the sentences with the words: BRAIN or MIND. Check their use in a dictionary:

Marie has an amazing __________ (= is very intelligent).
That can’t possibly be the right way to do it – use your __________!
Her __________ was full of what had happened the night before, and she just wasn’t concentrating.
Of course I’m telling the truth – you’ve got such a suspicious __________!
The poor child inherited his mother’s __________ and his father’s looks.
He’s got __________ but he’s too lazy to use them (= he is clever but lazy).
I just said the first thing that came into my __________.
I’m not quite clear in my __________ about what I’m doing.


About ljiljana havran

English language teacher (General & Aviation English), passionate about learning and teaching. Curious, adventurous, a lifelong learner. Love: good books, music, lots of dance.

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