Consider your favourite game to turn more entertaining by including your mother tongue. Wouldn’t the idea be great? Well the same concept is implemented in case of bilingual crosswords. While we know that a Crossword puzzle is a word searching brain teaser in which you find exact words based on hints or clues which help you to fill up rows and columns of a grid keeping in mind each word syncs with the other’s letters without provoking any dispute in spelling, bilingual crosswords follows a similar concept just with an extra addition of a second language to blend in the grid of words. A bilingual crossword is extremely beneficial as it not only helps you to develop skills in the art of word making and vocabulary but also firmly enhances your knowledge in two different languages instead of one. Let us see what researchers have found out by conducting surveys on bilingual crosswords.
The North western University researchers defined bilinguals as a form of brain training in which constant mental work helps in fine-tuning one’s mind. According to them speaking two languages not only affects the mind but also changes the course of the nervous system on how to respond to different stimuli such as sounds.
There are numerous advantages of solving bilingual crosswords which directly or indirectly changes our knowledge base and our approach towards different things. In today’s world, there is a significant advantage of speaking two languages. According to a recent case study on bilingual crosswords, this type of crosswords helps you to get smarter. Also bilingual crosswords can bring about a profound effect on your brain, improve your cognitive skills that are not related to language and even shield you against dementia in old age.
Bilingual crosswords seem to be more adept than monolingual crossword when solving particular mental puzzles. According to the study that was conducted in 2004 by psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee, kids were asked to sort blue circles and red square which were presented on a computer screen into two bins that were digitalized. One bin was marked with a blue square, and the other one was labelled with a red circle. On the first task children were required to sort the shapes according to colors and then, place blue squares to the bin that was marked with a red circles and eventually both groups managed to do that. In the next task children, were asked to sort by shape. This task was more challenging than the first one because it required the placing of images in a bin which contained a conflicting color. The kids with knowledge about bilingual crosswords were quicker in doing that task. This study indicates that bilingual crosswords inadvertently help us in improving our brain’s executive function. For those who are unaware of the term, the executive function is the command system that directs the process of attention that is used for planning, performing different tasks and solving problems.
Attention processes include ignoring distraction to stay focused and being able to switch complete attention from one thing to the other, willingly. Many people have asked how the tussle between two simultaneously active language systems helps in improving the aspect of recognition. This question had remained unanswered until recently when researchers find out that kids exposed to bilingual crosswords do better than their counter part even if the task doesn’t require inhibition, like threading a line through an ascending series of numbers that are scattered randomly on a page. In the past, the researchers used to believe that bilingual crosswords had more advantages than the monolingual crosswords only because of their ability for inhibition that was brought about by the exercise of suppressing one language. But they gradually found out that the argument wasn’t enough to compare between the two. The significant difference between the two types of crosswords is a heightened ability to monitor the environment which is assured by the regular solving of the bilingual crosswords. Bilingual crosswords help us to develop important skills essential for tracking changes around us as every now and then. Kids who used to play bilingual crosswords performed better and assured much less activity in parts of the brain which were in turn used for monitoring the environment. The result also indicated that they were more efficient and effective. According to some studies, bilingual crossword is found to have an impact on both young and old people. This benefit is also believed to apply to people who are learning a secondary language as through these bilingual crosswords they have encountered a whole treasure vocabulary. The effectiveness of bilinguals itself can be emphasized by a small survey conducted on 7month babies. The babies were exposed to two different languages since their birth and were compared to other babies raised in one language. The first task the infants were presented with was an audio cue and then they were showed a puppet on one side of the screen. Both infants learned to look at that side of the screen in anticipation of the puppets. But when the puppets started to appear from the opposite direction of the screen, the infants who were exposed to bilingual environment were quick to learn on how to switch their anticipatory gaze in the new side whereas the other infants didn’t manage to do it.
Bilingual crosswords are extremely beneficial in establishing a knowledge base that has enough supportive materials for the better understanding of not just one but two different languages. Also when it comes to trickily fill the crossword so that no language makes trouble for the other, you develop proper management skills along with improving your wit and smartness. People with high degree of exposure towards bilingual crossword were discovered to be more resistant to the onset of symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, when compared to others. It is very difficult to doubt the power of language. Have you ever imagined how learning different languages can change our living standards and our power of anticipation of things? Solve bilingual crosswords and think about it because it’s worth that much.