The word multilingualism and multilingualism as it is also known, is applied to describe the fact that an individual or a group of them is multilingual, this means that these people are able to express themselves in several languages .
Multilingualism is perceived by those who defend it as a solution to the problem of the disappearance of numerous languages. This problem threatens the cultural diversity of the world, dedicating to the disappearance a large number of languages, which consist of everything in so many different ways of seeing, understanding, classifying and establishing relationships between things. It is indeed known that 90% of languages are threatened with extinction, and that they should disappear in about 50 years.
Advantages of Multilingualism
The main advantages of multilingualism are:
- Diversity of languages and cultures,
- Respect for human rights,
- Respect for linguistic rights,
- Social and political coexistence between speakers of different languages.
- Learning more than one language in early childhood stimulates the brain and cognitive functions; and also children with learning disabilities can handle themselves in several languages if they are given the right tools.
- Multilingual training improves the ability to solve problems, develops auditory perception and enhances verbal skills.
- Learning more than one language requires adapting to different systems of representation of the world. This causes greater versatility, promoting concentration and perspective.
- Learning more than one language stimulates the brain to decode the phonemes, improving pronunciation in adulthood and enhancing children’s verbal abilities.
- Bilingual or multilingual children have the ability to master languages at the level of a native monolingual or at a high level quite satisfactory.
- Children who grow up with two or more languages develop an awareness of language and are able to understand more quickly that language is only a means and that there are various ways to convey a message.
- Children who receive a multilingual education are able to pass information from one language to another, either to gain vocabulary or to better understand the functioning of grammar.
- Children who learn two or more languages in childhood have an additional advantage in certain jobs, especially those with international projection.
- Bilingual and multilingual children better understand the cultural diversity of our world and are more open to new cultures and differences of thoughts
Multilingualism is a situation that must be respected in all many countries where different mother tongues are spoken. It is therefore about respect and the right to others to speak their mother tongue, receive education, justice and health, in the language spoken by the person. There are many multilingual countries, but not all of them have these rights, and this dynamic; This situation has been threatened after the creation of nation states with a policy of unification, both in race, as in religion, language and ideology.
But if you mean being a polyglot, it’s a very big advantage, since you can talk to a lot of people. More than work or economic, it is more a matter of understanding the language and culture of other people.
Multilingual schools consulted agree that between 10% and 15% of their students have learning problems, data similar to those of monolingual schools. Difficulties, according to teachers, begin to be detected at two or three years, when children begin to speak and build sentences. The solution lies in giving them pedagogical instruments of each language in aspects such as vocabulary, the logical structure to use coherent sentences and the contextualization of their small speeches.
It is recommended to combine these teachings with stimulation techniques and visual games, since the child ends up associating the new language with a playful moment: “It is the best way to internalize what has been learned. They should reward their progress and explain that they don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes. ”
Although it is never too late to learn languages, specialists agree that between three and seven years is the best period to introduce a second language, since the brain is at its optimal retention point. “Babies have more neurons, and starting an early learning of a foreign language facilitates their rapid absorption.”
- Children facing multilingual education are at risk of not reaching a satisfactory level in any of the languages and of facing serious problems in the formal education of the surrounding country.
- Bilingual and multilingual children face a mostly monolingual society. This can cause rejection by society and affect the child’s personality negatively, such as causing a feeling of inferiority.
- Children who grow up with two or more languages face the same language development problems as monolingual children: physical problems, pronunciation problems, grammar problems. However, these problems may have different nuances influenced by the second or third language.
Problems of multilingualism
One of the difficulties with multilingualism is the path that takes you there. Learning a second or third language costs the learner a lot of time. This is a huge effort, often at the expense of other activities, and it discourages many people from learning other languages. Depending on the context in which one learns, it is necessary to assume different costs, such as language courses and books to support the learning process.
less linguistic sense
According to Krieger (2011), if you learn different languages and speak them, they influence each other. This leads to a weakening of the feeling for the language, since a multilingual person may not concentrate on a single language without also being guided by the others when speaking and writing. Other factors that are negatively influenced by multilingualism are insecurity of expression and poor vocabulary. This is because the languages, vocabulary and grammar of each language are repeatedly confused.
Weak cohesion of a society
According to Eichinger (1994), a community is held together by the language of each of its participants, among other things. However, if multiple languages are spoken, the community is not as strong as a group of people who speak only one language. In this case, the feeling of collective belonging is stronger and people are more aware of it. However, this negative aspect contrasts with the factor of integration and involvement of the participants of a society through multilingualism.
Like a language barrier
As a multilingual person cannot speak any of his languages with any degree of certainty (since all languages influence each other), this can lead to a situation where no one in a multilingual society can communicate adequately with each other. In relation to migrant families, this also impedes their integration and participation in society.