Wednesday December 12, 2020
The cognitive benefits of learning a new language have drawn much attention from the UK media in recent years. Indeed, it is thought that speaking more than one language can improve memory, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. However, not much has been said about the other psychological and well-being benefits of communicating across languages and cultures. In this talk, I will demonstrate that monolinguals are denying themselves the opportunity to boost their emotional health and wellbeing. When we learn a new language and travel to a new country, our (rewarding but sometimes frustrating) experiences develop our resilience and emotional intelligence; we grow to tolerate situations of ambiguity and stress; we gain confidence and empathy; we learn to regulate our emotions and manage conflicting perspectives. Drawing on my own research with professional translators, I will show how working between languages can lead to happier and more well-adjusted individuals who have developed a new understanding of their own dispositions and emotional health.