The Instigator
WilliamsP
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Defro
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Multilingualism is obligatory.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Defro
Voting Style: Judge Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,454 times Debate No: 54883
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

WilliamsP

Pro

I do not believe this topic has been debated on this site before. If it is indeed the first time, I would like to establish that I believe multilingualism, in this globalized, sophisticated world, is obligatory. My opponent will argue the opposite. He will argue that it is satisfactory for one to only speak his or her native language, that multilingualism is not obligatory.

There will be four total rounds; each debater will have 72 hours to post his or her arguments. There is a limit of 10,000 characters per argument. This debate will have a judge voting style with a 7 point system.

The rules are evident. Forfeiture will result in the loss of conduct points, proper spelling and grammar will be used, all sources will be cited - all formats are acceptable - and opinions will only be stated when supported by facts.

The first round is simply for acceptance. In the second round, my opponent and I will present our main arguments. In the third round, we will offer rebuttals and all final arguments. In the fourth round, we will present our final rebuttals and conclusions.

I look forward to an enlightening debate.
Defro

Con

I accept, with the note that BoP is on Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
WilliamsP

Pro

Introduction
I would like to thank my opponent Defro for accepting this debate. I accept the Burden of Proof. I intend to argue my point sufficiently and effectively.



Definitions
Multilingualism - using or able to speak several or many languages with some facility.

Facility - readiness or ease due to skill, aptitude, or practice; dexterity: an easy-flowing manner.

Obligatory - required as a matter of obligation; mandatory

Globalized - to extend to other or all parts of the globe; make worldwide

Monolingual - knowing or able to use only one language



Arguments

Benefits of Speaking Multiple Languages
The world is becoming globalized. The advantages and benefits of being multilingual are enormous. The New York Times presents the benefits of bilingualism, the ability to speak two languages, which is the tip of the iceberg of multilingualism. "S[peaking] two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age."

There are uncountable benefits of bilingualism, trilingualism, and eventually multilingualism. Not only does it benefit your brain, but it also opens new doors of opportunity. You can connect with more people, cultures, and nations, whether you are on business, simply travelling, or need to communicate for other reasons. My opponent surely acknowldges this, but this debate is primarily about mulitlingualism being obligatory. I will explain that in the next section.

Obligatory Multilingualism
Why is it obligatory, even though it has tremendous benefits and advantages? This is the core question of this debate.

Let's look at an example scenario:

A monolingual individual travels to another nation. In this example, it is Germany. He goes to Berlin and takes pictures. In Germany, many people speak English, but a certain coffee shop worker does not. So, the traveler goes to the coffee shop. He knows what he wants, which is a decaf black coffee without sugar. He opens his mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. The coffee shop worker says, "Kann ich ihnen helfen?" The traveler says, "I do not speak German. I speak English." Sadly, the person does not get his coffee. Why is that so? He cannot speak German.

This is just one of millions of scenarios. It is not necessarily have to be the German language in question; it can be Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, or any other language, in fact. I am not saying which specific languages one should learn, but a knowledge of a language or two besides your native one will help you immensely.

So far, I have only scratched the surface. I have not yet sufficiently argued obligatory multilingualism. Let's look at this a different way:

A young man lives in the United States. In fact, he has never been outside of the U.S. He speaks only English. He did study Spanish in high school, but he did not put any effort into it. After school, he never used the language or even studied it. He lost all memories of it except for the phrase, "Buenas dias." That is all he rememberes. He is monolingual. He dies a monolingual. This man's life was a failure.

To the question Why should multilingualism be obligatory?, my response can be simply this:

Multilingualism is the ability to speak multiple languages. It allows you to connect with new people, markets, and opportunities. It allows you to understand your planet more fully. I believe that all people should put effort into learning at least one additional language other than their native one. If a person lives and dies a monolingual, I fear they have failed life. Life is more than just about living; it is connecting with others and accomplishing something. Being multilingual satisfies both of those criteria; it allows you to connect and it is a great accomplishment.

For now, I have made my core points. My argument is somewhat short, I must concede to that notion. I have limited time, though, and I apologize. My opponent may now post his main arguments. I look forward to them.

Works Cited
1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
2. http://dictionary.reference.com...
3. http://dictionary.reference.com...

4. http://dictionary.reference.com...
5. http://dictionary.reference.com...
6. http://www.nytimes.com...#
Defro

Con

Thank you for your arguments. I find this topic very interesting, as I myself am multilingual, fluent in Thai, Chinese, English, and Spanish (though my Spanish is rough from not using it often). I am also familiar with Burmese and Taiwanese, though not as fluent.


*Disclaimer

- Pro has provided two definitions for the term "obligatory". One states that it is "required as a matter of obligation" and the other states that it is "mandatory". Required as a matter of obligation is different than mandatory. A citizen is obligated to vote, however, he or she may choose not to vote. If it is mandatory for a citizen to vote, he or she must vote, and cannot choose to abstain.
-Because Pro has not clarified which defnition he intends to use, it is implied that I am allowed to choose.
-I choose the latter: mandatory (adj): required by law or rules; compulsory. [1]


Rebuttals:

-So far, none of Pro's arguments support his BoP that multilingualism should be enforced by law in every country.


"The advantages and benefits of being multilingual are enormous."

-Okay. But that doesn't mean being mulitilingual should be made obligatory. There are advantages and benefits in having a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables. Does that mean that the government should enforce a system in which they force feed fruits and vegetables to us and deny us fast food? It should be our choice.


"Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter."

-It should be one's own choice whether he or she wants to be smarter or not. And it should be one's own choice how he or she wants to be smarter. They don't have to be smarter, and they don't have to be smarter by learning another language. You would likely get smarter from taking more difficult and challenging courses that interest you in school. But you are not obligated to if you don't want to.


"You can connect with more people, cultures, and nations, whether you are on business, simply travelling, or need to communicate for other reasons. My opponent surely acknowldges this..."

-Yes, I "acknowldge" that knowing more language allows you to connect with more people and cultures. But what if you don't want to connect with more people and cultures? What if in your life, you never get to even see a foreigner? In Thailand, where I live, there are hill tribes up in the mountains. They speak one language, which is a dialect of Thai. They have never had contact with a language speaker and most likely will not. They have no need to be multilingual, and on the off chance that they meet a foreigner once in their life times, is it really worth all that hard time learning to speak another language so that you can have one conversation with one person once in your life? Even if they have more contact with more foreigners, it is not worth the time to learn a new language.


"Sadly, the person does not get his coffee. Why is that so? He cannot speak German."

-Yes, if a person travels to another country, it would be good for him to learn the language of the local people in the area he is going to. But it should not be obligatory. He can choose for himself whether he wants to learn the language or not. It's his own fault if he can't communicate.

-Furthermore, what if he's only in Germany for one day? Is a cup of coffee really worth the time to learn German? I looked it up and found an online forum on language, and the people there discussed how long it took for them to learn German. A person said he plans to take 3 - 5 years! Another person said he couldn't learn it even after 10 years! I'm sure the tuition fees for German lessons would significantly cost more than a cup of coffee.


"It is not necessarily have to be the German language in question; it can be Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, or any other language, in fact. I am not saying which specific languages one should learn, but a knowledge of a language or two besides your native one will help you immensely."

-In your provided example, it does necessarily have to be German. If a man knew Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and five other languages, he would still not have been able to converse with the man in the coffee shop. Therefore, knowing more languages does not necessarily "help you immensely". For example, the hill tribe people I mentioned before. Knowing a European language besides Thai would not help them because they won't have a chance to converse with any Europeans. Of course I am not discouraging them to learn another language. I think it is great! But if they don't want to, which they won't because they will be too busy farming and working, they shouldn't have to.


"He is monolingual. He dies a monolingual. This man's life was a failure...If a person lives and dies a monolingual, I fear they have failed life."

-Pro has committed a fallacy. He is assuming that just because a man is fluent in one language, his life was a failure.

-This is a baseless assertion. President Obama can only speak English, yet he is the president of the United States. My grandfather was monolingual, yet he became rich in China doing business, became an official, had four wives, escaped death by the communist party and took refuge to Thailand, came to Thailand with nothing, and worked his life rich again. Now he has around 10 children and 30 grandchildren, who are all successful, love him, and while we are spread around the world, we all come back to his grave every year. His life was certainly not a failure.

-Furthermore, I am certainly multilingual. As established above, I am fluent in 4 languages. Yet, due to my personal experience of my personal life, I can testify that my life was a failure.


"Life is more than just about living; it is connecting with others and accomplishing something. Being multilingual satisfies both of those criteria"

-Being monolingual can also satisfy both of those criteria. The hill tribe people I mentioned are all monolingual. And they connect with each other better than most communities. They work together and accomplish many feats.


Addendum:

-Pro has yet to meet his burden of proof.

-Freedom of Choice: Pro's resolution of mandatory multiligualism would mean enforcing people to learn other languages even if they don't want to. This violate's their freedom of choice, which is a principle that is followed by many nations.



Sources:

[1] https://www.google.com...;

[2] https://www.google.com...;

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...






Debate Round No. 2
WilliamsP

Pro

Introduction
I would like to thank my opponent for his refutations and arguments - that round was not for refutations, but I shall accept it. His rebuttals are great and there are some marvelous points made, some of which threaten the credibility of my argument. I like that. When I defined 'obligatory', I meant to utilize the definition 'required as a matter of obligation.' Of course, I did not specify that and my opponent chose the opposite definition. I accept that, but I will continue arguing using the definition I meant.

I would like to share my history with languages. My native language is German. I essentially learned English alongside German starting at a very young age. I was always proud of being a bilingual, but I realized it was not enough. I utilized resources to learn Dutch, Spanish, and French. I learned these languages rather easily. Because of my hard work, I am now a multilingual. I am also now "going crazy", if you will, due to me taking the time to learn a plethora of many other unique languages. So far, this has benefited my greatly. It will continue to do so.

Rebuttals

"Okay. But that doesn't mean being mulitilingual should be made obligatory. There are advantages and benefits in having a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables. Does that mean that the government should enforce a system in which they force feed fruits and vegetables to us and deny us fast food? It should be our choice." This argument is valid, but I still do not agree. I very much support freedom of choice, but I truly believe that multilingualism is obligatory.It happens to be my opinion.

"Yes, I "acknowldge" that knowing more language allows you to connect with more people and cultures. But what if you don't want to connect with more people and cultures? What if in your life, you never get to even see a foreigner? In Thailand, where I live, there are hill tribes up in the mountains. They speak one language, which is a dialect of Thai. They have never had contact with a language speaker and most likely will not. They have no need to be multilingual, and on the off chance that they meet a foreigner once in their life times, is it really worth all that hard time learning to speak another language so that you can haveone conversation with one person once in your life? Even if they have more contact with more foreigners, it is not worth the time to learn a new language." I grant my opponent this argument. However, these are only one group of tribes, consisting of only a very, very small portion of the entire human race. I also believe in freedom of choice, but I believe that multilingualism is simply something that is obligatory. Even if you do not want to learn another language and even if you do not intend to travel the world, it will help you. It can come to your rescue in an emergency situation.

"Yes, if a person travels to another country, it would be good for him to learn the language of the local people in the area he is going to. But it should not be obligatory. He can choose for himself whether he wants to learn the language or not. It's his own fault if he can't communicate. Furthermore, what if he's only in Germany for one day? Is a cup of coffee really worth the time to learn German? I looked it up and found an online forum on language, and the people there discussed how long it took for them to learn German. A person said he plans to take 3 - 5 years! Another person said he couldn't learn it even after 10 years! I'm sure the tuition fees for German lessons would significantly cost more than a cup of coffee." I see. Actually, a cup of coffee is not worth learning German. I must agree with my opponent here. However, a cup of coffee is only one of seemingly infinite scenarios.

"In your provided example, it does necessarily have to be German. If a man knew Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and five other languages, he would still not have been able to converse with the man in the coffee shop. Therefore, knowing more languages does not necessarily "help you immensely". For example, the hill tribe people I mentioned before. Knowing a European language besides Thai would not help them because they won't have a chance to converse with any Europeans. Of course I am not discouraging them to learn another language. I think it is great! But if they don't want to, which they won't because they will be too busy farming and working, they shouldn't have to."In certain specific cases - like the one regarding the hill tribe people - it should not be obligatory. I, however, personally believe that it is obligatory for middle class and upper class individuals in developed countries. I should have specified that earlier. I realize it is too late to do so know, so I would like to apologize for that.

"Pro has committed a fallacy. He is assuming that just because a man is fluent in one language, his life was a failure. This is a baseless assertion. President Obama can only speak English, yet he is the president of the United States. My grandfather was monolingual, yet he became rich in China doing business, became an official, had four wives, escaped death by the communist party and took refuge to Thailand, came to Thailand with nothing, and worked his life rich again. Now he has around 10 children and 30 grandchildren, who are all successful, love him, and while we are spread around the world, we all come back to his grave every year. His life was certainly not a failure. Furthermore, I am certainly multilingual. As established above, I am fluent in 4 languages. Yet, due to my personal experience of my personal life, I can testify that my life was a failure." This is absolutely great. I should have worded my argument differenty, in fact. Perhaps I should not have utilized the word "failure". In fact, I must concede to this rebuttal and I grant my opponent this argument.


Conclusion
I failed to specify a few things, which I fully acknowledge. My opponent has performed better than me so far, I believe, and I admit that. I sense that he is going to win. I have a feeling. However, I will continue to fight, defend my stance, and attack my opponent whenver I can. I look forward to my opponent's next entry.


Defro

Con

*I apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes in this round. Although I have 10 hours left to post my argument, my government is shutting down the internet in 2 hours and it will not come back on until after 7 hours, in which it will be 5 AM and I will be asleep.



*Disclaimer:
-Pro has explained that the previous round was not for refutations. I would like to defend myself by making it known that I was aware of this in Round 1. However, apart from its violation of freedom of choice, I have no original arguments. Furthermore, seeing that I am arguing against your resolution, my refutations are my arguments. But I thank Pro for dismissing this issue.



Counter-Rebuttals:


"This argument is valid, but I still do not agree. I very much support freedom of choice, but I truly believe that multilingualism is obligatory. It happens to be my opinion."

-Pro has conceded the validity of my argument and has not provided a rebuttal, saying online that his opinion states otherwise.


"I grant my opponent this argument. However, these are only one group of tribes, consisting of only a very, very small portion of the entire human race."

-Pro has conceded yet again. However, Pro argues that because my example covered a small number of people, it should still be obligatory. I'd like to make clear that there are many more people around the world aside from the hill tribe people in Thailand. Also, the hill tribe people are not as small in population as Pro thinks. Their population is estimated to be between 7 - 14 million people. [1]


"I also believe in freedom of choice, but I believe that multilingualism is simply something that is obligatory. Even if you do not want to learn another language and even if you do not intend to travel the world, it will help you."

-Pro's claims are contradictory. Pro claims that he "believes in freedom of choice", yet he also believes in forcing people to learn another language.


"It can come to your rescue in an emergency situation."

-Pro has not met his burden of proof for this statement. Furthermore, is that really a reason to enforce this policy upon everyone in the world? Tasers, guns, and other weapons can come to your rescue in an emergency situation. Yet, they are not made obligatory.

-Knowledge in first aid can come to your rescue in an emergency situation, in many cases, more helpful than knowing another language. Yet, it is not made obligatory.


"Actually, a cup of coffee is not worth learning German. I must agree with my opponent here. However, a cup of coffee is only one of seemingly infinite scenarios."

-Pro has conceded again. Also, in my example, I explained that if that man was only visiting Germany for a day, then the cup of coffee is only one of seemingly limited scenarios and it is certainly not worth it to learn German so that you can have a proper conversation with German people for one day.


"In certain specific cases - like the one regarding the hill tribe people - it should not be obligatory. I, however, personally believe that it is obligatory for middle class and upper class individuals in developed countries."

-In this statement, Pro has negated his own resolution.

-Pro has also explained his opinions, which were not supported.



Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...(Thailand)




*I don't have much time left. Back to Pro.


Debate Round No. 3
WilliamsP

Pro

As there is no chance that I can win - having failed to meet my Burden of Proof - I must concede. I am entitled to my own opinion and I still firmly believe that multilingualism is obligatory, but my opponent has clearly won this debate.
Defro

Con

Okay then. I shall conclude with an exerpt from an english folklore:

Remember, remember!

The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by MysticEgg 2 years ago
MysticEgg
If the worker said: "Kann ich" and not "Darf ich", the coffee was not worth it anyway.
Posted by jamccartney 2 years ago
jamccartney
"Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!"

Nice. :)
Posted by jamccartney 3 years ago
jamccartney
I am on the con side of this debate.
Posted by Defro 3 years ago
Defro
Ok. For once, you've started a good debate. Unlike the previous two debates we've had, I intend to argue legitimately and not troll.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 3 years ago
airmax1227
WilliamsPDefroTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: PRO concedes the debate
Vote Placed by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
WilliamsPDefroTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO concedes that he hasn't met the BOP...
Vote Placed by Dennybug 3 years ago
Dennybug
WilliamsPDefroTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to meet BOP. Also conceded to con. It was clear who won.