The Benefits of Bilingualism

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After doing some research on bilingualism, I am surprised at some of the pros and cons I have come across. From an academic standpoint, bilingualism is a very effective way of teaching students who have limited proficiency in English and allows people to engage in multilingual environments and obtain a better understanding of cultural differences. On the downside, bilingual education is extremely expensive and is no guarantee that children learning in multilingual environments will master all the languages they are learning.

For me, my family is Taiwanese and they did not want me to pick up their English accent so they decided to speak Chinese at home and had me learn English through school. I am very thankful for that because being bilingual has allowed me to connect with people from both cultures and it has made my life easier especially because of the second language requirements in most majors.

Although the research I found shows the pros and cons of being bilingual, I am curious to find out why being bilingual would make it easier for people to better understand things such as grammatical structures. I am also interested in what goes on in the brain when bilingual or multilingual people think because based on personal experience, I think in both languages. I am also puzzled by how the brain processes information in different languages also and how people are able to switch back and forth between two or more languages without any hesitation.

effects-of-bilingual.jpg

5 Comments

Its interesting to think of the existence of any "cons" to being bilingual, because of course initially anyone would think of that as a skill and something that adds to a persons abilities rather than takes away. But i think the connection between a bilingual student and increased understanding in something like grammatical structures is just understanding the differences in languages, being able to have something to compare too can really give a wider picture on something such as language. It allows you too see things previously unseen. I for instance only know english, and really couldn't tell you a ton about grammatical structures simply because its been lost in the many years since i learned the language. Without any outside look, i can't really identify the differences in a grammatical structure.

I love the picture you attached. I am also bilingual, I spoke english at home. And I went to a spanish immersion school k-8. The downside of being bilingual I have found is that my english is not as good as my peers. Even though I speak it fluently with friends, I was never taught how to construct sentences in english. And I think thats where the last image in the picture comes in for me. I think the lack of english taught in my school sort of made my english language into square tires.

I only speak english but I wish I was bilingual. My dad speaks fluent Ukrainian and I wish I would have paid attention when he was trying to teach me when I was younger. It was hard though since my mom does not speak it at all. I think being bilingual gives you a lot of oppoturnities to understand more about how language works, as well as being able to connect with two cultures. I think it is great that your family wanted you to be able to speak two languages!

Your blog is very interested according to me because I speak two language, English and Chinese. I think as an international students, bilingual give me a lot of opportunities to understand the culture differences from two totally different countries. think it is great that your family wanted you to be able to speak two languages!

I think that being bilingual does not only help the person who is speaking mutliple languages but there are many theories that claim that our thinking is affected by language and therefore does that make people who are bilingual more open minded? I also think that it enables us to talk to others and accept other cultures.

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This page contains a single entry by liux1299 published on March 4, 2012 7:15 PM.

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