Why do scientists claim that learning Chinese makes you smarter? We've summarized their main arguments:
1. Chinese trains cognitive abilities not utilized in the study of other languages. Recognizing the tones, sounds and script of Chineserequires the use of both temporal lobes of the brain. English speakers, for example, only use the left temporal lobe for language.
2. Learning to hand write Chinese characters, with their complex structure, involves strokes in several directions and sequential movements. These movements appear to activate neural activity in the working, thinking and spatial memory of the brain.
3. Learning Chinese appears to make you better at math. Children whose native language is Chinese seem to gain a greater understanding of mathematical concepts. Researchers give credit to Chinese character writing which involves skills such as counting, grouping, ordering, and identifying similarities and differences, which are essentially math skills.
While the research on cognition and Chinese language learning is not exhaustive, it does suggest that there are significant cognitive benefits to learning Chinese over other languages and that these benefits merit further study.
Source: Asia Society