What does it average to say someone is bilingual?

A bilingual human being is someone who speaks 2 languages. A human who speaks much more than 2 languages is referred to as "multilingual" (although the term "bilingualism" can be supplied for both situations). Multilingualism isn"t unusual; in fact, it"s the share for most of the world"s societies. It"s feasible for a human to know and also use three, four, or even much more languages fluently.

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How perform people end up being bilingual?

People may end up being bilingual one of two people by gaining two languages at the exact same time in childhood or by learning a 2nd language at some time after getting their very first language.

Many bilingual human being grow up speaking 2 languages. Often in America such world are the youngsters of immigrants; these kids grow up speaking their parents" indigenous language in your childhood house while speak English in ~ school. Numerous bilinguals, however, room not immigrants; the is not uncommon for people born in the U.S. Come speak English at institution or work and another language at home. Youngsters can also become bilingual if their parents speak much more than one language to them, or if part other significant person in their life (such together a grandparents or caretaker) speak to them repeatedly in another language. Occasionally a kid willgrow increase in a family in i m sorry each parent speaks a different language; in that case, the son may find out to speak come each parent in the parent"s language. In short, a young son who is on regular basis exposed to 2 languages from very early age will many likely end up being a fluent indigenous speaker the both languages. The exposure have to involve interaction; a child farming up in an English-speaking household who is exposed come Spanish just through Spanish-language tv won"t come to be a Spanish-English bilingual, yet a child who is regularly spoken to in both English and Spanish will.

It is also possible to find out a 2nd language at some point after beforehand childhood, but the older girlfriend get, the harder it is to find out to speak a new language and also a indigenous speaker. Numerous linguists believe there is a "critical period" (lasting approximately from birth till puberty) during which a son can easily acquire any type of language that he or she is on regular basis exposed to. Under this view, the framework of the mind changes in ~ puberty, and after the it becomes harder to find out a new language. This means that that is much much easier to discover a second language throughout childhood than as an adult.

In some countries, almost everybody is bilingual or multilingual. In components of India, for example, a tiny child normally knows numerous languages. In countless European countries, children are encouraged to discover a second language - typically English. In fact, the U.S. Is quite unusual among the nations of the world in that numerous of its citizens speak only English, and they are rarely encouraged to end up being fluent in any kind of other language.

Is it harder for a boy to get two language at once?

There is no proof to imply that it"s any type of harder because that a child to get two languages than it is because that the kid to get one language. As long as world are regularly speaking with the boy in both languages, the son will gain them both easily. A kid doesn"t have to be exceptional or have any special language ability to come to be bilingual; as lengthy as the boy is exposed to 2 languages throughout early childhood, he or she will obtain them both.

Some civilization worry that learning an ext than one language is bad for a child, yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there are a lot of of advantages to knowing more than one language. First, plenty of linguists feeling that understanding a 2nd language actually benefits a child"s cognitive development. Second, if the child originates from a household that has actually recently immigrated to the U.S., the family members may speak a language various other than English at home and also may tho have strong ties to their ethnic roots. In this case, being able come speak the language that the family"s ethnic heritage might be essential for the child"s feeling of cultural identity. To be can not to speak the family"s language could make a son feet favor an outsider within his or her own family; speaking the family"s language gives the boy a feeling of identity and also belonging. Third, in one increasingly worldwide marketplace, it"s an benefit for anyone to know much more than one language - nevertheless of even if it is one"s household is brand-new to the U.S. And also finally, for civilization of any age or profession, knowing a second language motivates cross-cultural awareness and also understanding.

Does bilingualism in America threaten the English language?

English is in no peril of disappearing any type of time soon; it is firmly established both in America and also in countries throughout the world. In fact, no language has ever held as solid a position in the people as English does today. Some world worry once they watch Spanish arriving on billboards and pay phones, yet in a neighborhood with a high Spanish-speaking population, it renders perfectly great sense because that public information and also instructions come be printed in both English and also Spanish. This doesn"t mean that the English language is in danger.

The fact is the there will certainly probably constantly be immigrants in the U.S., coming from a wide variety of countries, that cannot speak English however whose grandchildren and great-grandchildren will become native English speakers. The reason for this is, again, the truth that the is much much easier for youngsters to learn an additional language than it is because that adults. Adults that immigrate come the U.S., specifically later in life, may never really end up being fluent in English. It"s no that castle don"t desire to speak English; it"s simply much more an overwhelming for lock to learn it well. Their children, however, will have the ability to pick up English conveniently from their friends and also the culture around them. These second-generation immigrants, the kids of the adult immigrants, are likely to it is in bilingual, speaking your parents" language in ~ home and also English in ~ school and in the English-speaking community. When they grow up and also have kids of their own, those kids - the 3rd generation - will certainly most most likely speak just English, both at home with your bilingual parents and also in the English-speaking community. This three-generation pattern has actually been repeating itself for plenty of years, with wave after tide of immigrants. Many adults this day who speak just English have the right to remember grandparents and also great-grandparents who spoke very small English, who rather spoke mainly Polish, Italian, German, or sweden - the language the the country they flourished up in. In sum, bilingualism isn"t a hazard either to the English language or to the bilingual speakers themselves. On the contrary, there are many benefits to bilingualism, both for the individual and for the culture as a whole. English enjoys tremendous dominance in the U.S. And also in the world. But if history is any indication, there will always be human being in the U.S. Who cannot speak English - and also they will have grandchildren that do.

For further information

Bialystok, Ellen, and Kenji Hakuta. 1994.In various other Words: The Science and Psychology of second Language Acquisition.New York: straightforward Books.

Genesee, Fred. 1987.Learning v Two Languages: studies of Immersion and Bilingual Education.Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Hakuta, Kenji. I986.The winter of Language: The debate on Bilingualism.New York: an easy Books.

Krashen, Stephen, R. Sarcella, and also M. Lengthy (eds.) 1982.Child-Adult differences in 2nd Language Acquisition.Rowley, MA: Newbury House

Zentella, Ana Celia. 1997.Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican children in new York.Malden, MA: Blackwell.

FAQ by: Betty Birner

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