It’s never too late to learn a language – nor enjoy the brain benefits!

Learning a language doesn’t just help with getting a job or travelling overseas – new research has found that a second language can have a positive effect on the brain, even if it is taken up in adulthood.

Academics including Dr Thomas Bak from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, have revealed research findings this week which detected a slower pattern of mental decline among the bilingual.

A group of 835 people born in 1936 were tested for their intelligence at 11 years old in 1947, and then retested in their early 70s between 2008 and 2010. Of these, 262 were able to communicate in at least one language other than English.

The astounding results showed that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities in their 70s than would be expected from their baseline tests, and were far better than their peers! The strongest effect of bilingualism was seen in reading, verbal fluency and intelligence.

Commenting on what this means, Dr Bak said: “These findings are of considerable practical relevance. Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life. Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain.”

This just goes to show that it is never too late to twist your tongue around another language, and we are here to help you on your first steps with the 1000 Word Challenge! Our collaboration with Speak to the Future and Oxford University Press means that whatever your age, now is your chance to sign up for free and learn the first 1000 words of a new language.

So why not challenge yourself and see if you can experience these benefits and more? You can sign up for free at

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