Multilinguism is good for a person
Debate Rounds (3)
My is con-multilingualism
it is a waste of a credit in high school due to the fact with taking other classes that must be known in the English language
Here is a piece about the value of bilingualism for all students. Bowern is an associate professor of linguistics at Yale University and a fellow in The OpEd Project"s Public Voices project who has been researching topics s related to language and society, including bilingualism, for 15 years. She also works as an advisor to Native American and Australian indigenous groups on language reclamation, maintenance, and bilingual education issues.
Two languages, two sets of opinion about bilingualism. On the one side is the research that consistently shows that bilingualism is good for you. It leads to an enriched set of experiences, a new way of seeing the world, and more prosaically but no less importantly, is associated with reduced rates of dementia. People who are multilingual are perceived as more intelligent and educated, and they have better international contacts and resources in their careers.
On the other side, we also hear about the perniciousness of bilingualism among immigrants, the uselessness of supporting and preserving minority and indigenous languages, and the educational and economic harm that comes from "wasting" valuable resources on bilingual education initiatives. Some even see maintaining another language as seditious, a compromise to national security, or at the very least, evidence of conflicted loyalties or identities, or that a person cannot be fully trusted.
These opposing views tells us more about stereotypes and social pigeonholing than about language. To put it bluntly, bilingualism is often seen as "good" when it"s rich English speakers adding a language as a hobby or another international language, but "bad" when it involves poor, minority, or indigenous groups adding English to their first language, even when the same two languages are involved.
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You may have heard the joke: "What do you call someone who speaks two languages? (Bilingual) Someone who speaks three languages? (Trilingual) Someone who speaks one language? American." But America is a multilingual national, with 55 million Americans speaking another language at home, and nearly 400 languages represented. And far from being unusual outside the United States, multilingualism is the norm with 163 of the world"s 195 countries officially bi- or multilingual. More than half the world"s population uses more than one language.
Let"s look in more detail at the evidence that bilingualism is "good." The evidence comes from several sources. One is Erika Hoff"s work on second language exposure. She compared Spanish-speaking immigrants to the USA who spoke Spanish to their children with those who spoken mostly English to them. The children who had mostly English at home did worse in standardized tests, while the children whose parents spoke to them mostly in Spanish benefited from a "bilingual boost" by being proficient in two languages.
Research in Australia among Aboriginal groups shows that bilingual education programs have higher school attendance and better outcomes on standardized tests. The same is true for the elite bilingual schools at the other end of the socio-economic spectrum. Bilingual education benefits all, not just the rich.
The "bilingual boost" extends beyond the classroom and into later life. Ellen Bialystok"s research, for example, shows that bilingual adults, as they get older, stay sharper for longer than monolingual adults do. The effect is about four years" difference on average, which can make a considerable difference to quality of life in retirement. In research by the same team, bilingual adults also showed the delays in the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer"s Disease. They still got the disease, but they were able to maintain active lifestyles for longer " 5 to 6 years longer on average.
"Nonsense", replied quite a few commenters. Many argued that it would be far more practical if all European matters were simply conducted in English. Why not let the most popular language spread to every corner of Europe"and, indeed, the rest of the world?
This would certainly seem more practical than teaching every European child two more languages. But mandating English might also serve to undermine loyalty to the EU. There are too many Europeans who would rather not have English dominate political affairs. The continent has more native German-speakers, including four countries where German is an official language. French has as many native-speakers in Europe, too, and is official in three countries (not to mention Europe's de facto capital, Brussels). Native English-speakers make up less than a fifth of the EU's population. And, awkwardly, English is the official language of the one country that will soon hold a referendum on whether to quit the EU entirely.
But the real reason not to adopt a "mainly English" language policy involves the EU's promise to its members, under the official motto "united in diversity". No country joined the union in order to be crushed under a homogenising wheel. Important laws are made at the EU level, and Europeans have a right to be able to understand them. This includes not only grasping the final laws, but also the debates in the European Parliament. The EU already makes big gestures to small countries (like giving Malta and Germany the same vote at the European Central Bank). Encouraging multilingualism, not just fluency in English, seems a more sensible way of showing that all countries matter.
Recognising the importance of all languages big and small may seem romantic. But when it comes to arguments about language, as with trade, emotion often trumps reason. Hard facts may be a good reason to, say, shut an old steel mill that cannot withstand competition. But a language is not a steel mill. There is far more at stake: not just people's livelihoods, but their identities and cultural diversity itself. The continent's proliferating anti-EU parties would throw themselves a party if the EU foolishly tossed aside national exceptionalism for an English hegemony.
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