Professor Antonella Sorace, founder of the Bilingulaism Matters Centre at Edinburgh University and Professor of Developmental Linguistics, said that all university degrees should include a second language because it bring a range of benefits.
“Bilingual kids are better at understanding other people and have a different perspective on things," she added.
“Studies show certain types of dementia appear on average four of five years earlier in bilingual elderly people compared to monolingual people. It is thought bilingual people have a cognitive reserve that delays the onset
“It is thought that compartmentalising the languages, plus switching between them at the right time, exercises the brain and has a protective function.
“Languages should be a requirement for any kind of degree. Whether people are doing classics or literature or modern languages or a science degree, languages should be a requirement.”
“We are not saying bilingualism would solve all the problems. We can’t say that. But we can say it would be a very good idea if people learnt more languages from an earlier age.”
The research was published in the journal Cognition.