Advantages of Multilingualism
The ability to speak a multiple or at least a second language is growing in importance. The world is becoming more connected, and with this new interconnectedness, we must be able to communicate effectively as well as understand the differences in cultures. A sense of tolerance and acceptance needs to be ingrained and an excellent way to begin to understand other cultures is to learn their language.
Multilingualism indeed presents advantages in many areas: individually, socio-culturally, economically and politically. Individually, the acquisition of one or several foreign languages by a young child in school shows improved intellectual development. For example, it is acknowledged that the learning of other languages promotes a more solid mastery of one’s mother tongue. They have a better ear for listening and sharper memories. People who are multilingual have the increased ability to apply more reading strategies effectively due to their greater experience in language learning and reading in different languages.
The ability to express the same thought in different languages helps people become aware that a language is only one means of communicating. Learning a language other than one’s own allows the learner an insight into the culture of the people who speak that language. Socially, multilingualism promotes relations between different linguistic communities. It facilitates interactions between them, the exchange of ideas and even the development of common social objectives. Economically, multilingualism facilitates exchanges and becomes an asset in the sale of products abroad.
The world is becoming multilingual. Educating people to be multilingual and encouraging naturally multilingual societies of India, Canada and other such countries helps to bring the already shrinking world, a step closer.