by Chika Oki
Bilingualism is the positive action which tries to use two languages in our daily life or promote education of two languages. Bilingualism is popular and supported, particularly in the counties which have a lot of immigrants who speak various languages, like the United States or Canada. At the same time, however, in those countries some fears that their native language may be replaced by another language, try to promote monolingualism, and immigrants are sometimes forced to use one language. In fact, being bilingual brings many good effects. In addition, there is no precedent that one language took place of another country’s native language.
First, being bilingual make your brain smart and efficient. Some studies have proved that children who can use two languages show better and efficient performance than those who speak one language when they are asked to do complicated tasks. Also, some experts found that those who are bilingual have less risks of becoming dementia, and even infants, they show better responses if they are growing up surrounded by two languages (Yudhijit, 2012). Thus, being bilingual obviously brings from children to elderlies some physical advantages.
Second, immigrants will be able to have a good social relationship by speaking two languages. Some immigrants’ children who are forced to speak the language of their settlement have difficulty in communicating with their parents because they can’t understand their parents’ mother tongue. On the other hand, if they use only their native language, they can’t only communicate with other people but get a job. Keeping their native language is very important to protect their identity and culture, but it is also necessary to master another language to assimilate to their new environment. So, immigrants should try to master two languages positively.
The problem is how to promote bilingual education. The easiest way is to enroll in immersion school, where you can efficiently learn two languages at the same time. However, like Japan, some countries don’t have many immersion schools. In this case, immigrants should try to learn the country’s language and make their children understand how it is advantageous to be bilingual. Then, they should teach their children their native language by themselves because children are unwilling to go to special school in their leisure time, and it will promote more communication in family. In this age of globalization, the movement of people from one country to another country will never end, so bilingualism is now an indispensable idea for all immigrants.
Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “Why Bilinguals Are Smarter,” The New York Times, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html?_r=1