When Pinoys talk about our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, we can't help but come up with a long list of jaw-dropping achievements. Aside from being a man of science as well as the arts, he is known as a polyglot, as he was supposedly able to speak 28 different languages. Of course, that doesn’t come as a surprise with Rizal’s reputation as a wunderkind, but new research shows that linguistic prowess can actually affect one’s smarts.

Recent studies from Newcastle and York universities have shown that learning a new language can be directly linked to considerable improvement in brain activity. “We already knew that learning another language improves our knowledge of our mother tongue, and thanks to the work of Professor Ellen Bialystok and others, we also knew that bilingualism has positive effects on the brain at both ends of life,” said Professor Cook from Newcastle University.

But if you think it’s too late for you to hit the books, think again. The study adds that learning a new language is not just suitable for kids but is also beneficial for adults as well. According to Professor Cook, “bilingualism can postpone the onset of dementia,” which is already a motivation for testing the waters on another language.

Excited to check out a new lingo yet? Let FN give you a headstart as we give you the lowdown on the top 10 most in-demand foreign languages.

For more on languages, check these out:

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Learn simple words in other languages by scrolling through these galleries:

(Flashbox photo by dogmadic via sxc.hu; other images by Belle Yambao)

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