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Bilingualism, or the use of two or more languages, is an important subject in linguistics. I chose bilingualism as my subject because speaking in more than one language benefits a person by allowing them to openly communicate with a diverse variety of people. As a result, bilingualism facilitates and improves general interaction. Bilinguals are often thought to be wise because being able to learn many languages at the same time increases the brain's capacity to improve certain thinking abilities that are not language-dependent, and in old age, the individual's chances of suffering from dementia are reduced. Bilingualism, therefore, has some benefits that can be associated with the individual (Bhattacharjee, 2012).
As seen, bilingualism is the ability of an individual to use two or more languages. Bilingualism can occur either simultaneously or sequentially. Sequential bilingualism in most cases happens at a later age of about three years when a child is introduced to a second language after they already have particular knowledge of a first language. Simultaneous bilingualism, on the other hand, happens when a young child is exposed to two or more languages from birth. The child, therefore, is exposed to both languages equally. Bilingualism may also occur naturally in children. This means that the individuals learn a particular language without any formal introductions. Language is also acquired symmetrically such that several languages are learned equally. At other times the languages are acquired through guidance. In most cases guidance occurs in schools where the individuals acquire knowledge by following specific instructions. A person’s bilingual state can change over time depending on their life experiences (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016).
The mother tongue is usually the first language that a child learns after the birth of the child’s development. It is also the language that a child to communicate before they can speak fluently. Languages that are acquired in the late stages in the life of individuals past the age of twelve are usually known as second languages. A language involves the use of words and sounds to communicate. Human beings use language to pass information and express themselves. Languages also involve more technical contents including programming languages and algebra. Another form of language is thinking. The thoughts of an individual help them to develop their identities. Linguistics is the scientific study of different languages. In the United States, the advocates of bilingual education actively push for bilingualism stating that bilingualism speeds up the ability of children to learn all subjects. It also reduces the chances of these children to be marginalized in the English language schools. However, other parties argue that bilingualism limits the employment opportunities as well as higher education opportunities for bilingual children. They also claim that bilingualism hinders the ability of the children to master the language of a large society (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2004).
Mixed reactions have been developed about bilingualism by older families that express negative effects of bilingualism. They argued that human beings are monolingual that originally use a single language. They, therefore, state that being bilingual is against the human nature. Recently, bilingualism has gained more advantages than disadvantages. A bilingual mind is more advantageous because it helps an individual to think more clearly and process information. Bilingual beings also more creative at solving mind puzzles than monolinguals. Bilinguals are also fast thinkers and solve problems faster than bilinguals. They also easily keep track of the activities in their surroundings. They are also better performers and are more efficient in their work.
“Why Bilinguals are Smarter: Sunday Review” by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee was a very useful article that I used in my work. The article was very useful to me because it provided relevant and reliable information about my chosen topic on bilingualism. The article was also technical because the information I was able to acquire was very relevant for my work. It also provided me with sufficient background information that was required for the topic and was very easy to understand. This article was also specific on the important points that were required for my research and provided me with almost all the specific information about the topic. From the article, I learned more about bilinguals and how smart and intelligent they are compared to monolinguals. I also used the article “Bilingualism” from the American Speech Hearing Association. This article was very useful because it provided me with a more detailed analysis on the topic. It was also a technical article that specifically provided short but very useful information about bilingualism. The article is very specific about the topic and majors in two major ways in which bilingualism is acquired. From the article, I learned how children are exposed to linguistics even at an early stage of their lives. “Bilingualism” by The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica as my last article served as a very useful source for my work. The article is quite technical because it provided a full summary of the major details about my chosen topic. The background information from the article was sufficient for my work and the information provided was quite general but useful. From the article I learnt about the different arguments both positive and negative that were brought about by bilingualism.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2004). Knowledge and Skills Needed by Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists to Provide Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services.
Bhattacharjee Y. (2012). Why Bilinguals Are Smarter. SundayReview. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html
Encyclopædia Britannica (2016). Bilingualism. Encyclopædia Britannica.
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