Sarkis Najarian 11/09/2018
Reaction to Unit 3- Reading 5
The article I read is titled “The Advantage of Multilingualism”, and I chose this reading because I have been interested in multilingualism for a long time and wanted to explore it in more detail. I agree with the article, and I know there are many benefits of being multilingualism rather than being monolingual. Multilingualism is when someone can speak more than one language. I decided to focus on the disadvantages because the article didn’t mention the disadvantage of multilingualism. These people are much respected for their ability to speak many languages. If you are thinking about learning more languages, you might reconsider what the disadvantages and advantages are.
The first point that I agree with in the article is about multilingual education. As the author said in the article, nowadays parents understand the economic advantages of being proficient in multiple languages. That’s why they seek out opportunities for their children to be surrounded by an additional language. Usually raising and teaching a child to achieve two languages and eventually become bilingual starts at a very early age, when the child has not yet started to speak at all. When the parents have different native language, the easiest way for a parent is to talk to the child in one’s native language from early on. Also, parents can hire a nanny or a babysitter who speaks a different language or have play dates with children who speak another language. In addition, bilingual and multilingual children benefit academically from knowing more than one language in many ways. Multilingual children develop better thinking from being able to change their language. Reading and being able to think in other languages helps with thinking and therefore helping to learn.
I also approve of how the author he said about cultural benefits of being multilingual. One very big benefit of bilingualism understands the norms and also the culture. This unique perspective on language allows bilinguals to have a more positive outlook on their language education, as well as to become better communicators. Bilingual people can also recognize the structure of sentences. For example, stress and word order. Kids who are bilingual can get more than one meaning from a word or sentence. Different words can sometimes mean the same thing. In addition to being natural language learners, bilingual children are well spoken to appreciate and understand cultural differences because of sensitivity to what other people are thinking. Bilingual children are naturally more curious about others’ thoughts from early childhood, at which time they have already learned to analyze who can speak what language, and thus have a greater awareness of what is going on in the minds of others. Down the road, the ability of multilingualism can help us appreciate cultural as well.
My final point is a disadvantage of being multilingualism that I didn’t see in this article when I read it. I speak four languages fluently now: Armenian, Assyrian, Persian, Turkish, and that makes me eligible to write this. When compared to the perks of knowing multiple languages, disadvantages are very few. Some of those which come to my mind are:
1. When friends or colleagues come to know that you know a lot of languages, and they ask you to list them. They ask you to translate one sentence to all the other languages just to test you!
2. When you are in a crowded place like a metro city, you get to hear all the conversations around, even if you don’t want to hear it. Sometimes, you may even be tempted to speak!
3. Once in a while, when you switch your tongue between languages, words from other languages sneak in! I face this a lot and get embarrassed!
To sum up, there is no doubt that multilingualism has more advantages, but it could be a more useful article if the author mentioned some disadvantages of being multilingual. I think that multilingualism is a new way of human evolution and brain development because there is no more powerful and intelligent organism on the earth than the human brain. Seriously though, being multilingual has way more advantages than those silly disadvantages I mentioned. It takes some effort but it will pay off!