It says here, at Pacific Standard, that learning a second language translates into clearer thinking. No surprises there, but good to have evidence.
In Providence this week, a certain baby I know is showing an affinity for more than one language. His mother thinks he finds his father’s Swedish soothing, especially when sung in a low voice.
While the baby is tuning in to Swedish and English, his parents are studying a language called Basic Baby. It’s the world’s oldest language. In its simplest form, it involves crying: “You’re doing this wrong — try a different tack.” Or silence: “You’re doing this right.” At higher levels, it gets more complex. For example, you may be doing something right, but there is still crying: “This digestive business feels totally weird.”
Basic Baby is not too hard to learn if you (a) pay attention, (b) realize that you will figure it out eventually. It was your own first language. If you are rusty, maybe you just need to bone up a bit.