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When it's Time to Talk

Researchers find that students who know two languages have an easier time gaining command of a third language than students who are fluent in only one language. For those of us who are just trying to become bilingual, this seems unfair! However, it turns out that this is because languages reinforce one another, and applying language skills from one language to another makes it easier for an individual to go through the learning process successfully.

Speakers of languages like Spanish and Italian tend to gesture with their hands while speaking, and it turns out that this triggers mental images that help solve complex problems. Psychologist Mingyuan Chu says, "Hand gestures are spontaneous and don't need to be taught, but they can improve spatial visualization. From Galileo and Einstein to da Vinci and Picasso, influential scientific discoveries and artistic masterpieces might never have been achieved without extraordinary spatial visualization skills." Maybe this helps explain why so many artistic masterpieces emerged from the Italian Renaissance.

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