Multilingualism

Multilingualism

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Multilingualism is the act of using, or promoting the use of, multiple language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

s, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. Multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of globalization and cultural openness. Thanks to the ease of access to information facilitated by the Internet, individuals' exposure to multiple languages is getting more and more frequent, and triggering therefore the need to acquire more and more languages.

People who speak more than one language are also called polyglots
Polyglot (person)
A polyglot is someone with a high degree of proficiency in several languages. A bilingual person can speak two languages fluently, whereas a trilingual three; above that the term multilingual may be used.-Hyperpolyglot:...

.


Multilingual individuals



A multilingual person, in a broad definition, is one who can communicate in more than one language, be it actively (through speaking, writing, or signing) or passively (through listening, reading, or perceiving). More specifically, the terms bilingual and trilingual are used to describe comparable situations in which two or three languages are involved. A multilingual person is generally referred to as a polyglot
Polyglot (person)
A polyglot is someone with a high degree of proficiency in several languages. A bilingual person can speak two languages fluently, whereas a trilingual three; above that the term multilingual may be used.-Hyperpolyglot:...

. Poly (Greek: πολύς) means "many", glot (Greek: γλώττα) means "language".

Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

 (L1). The first language (sometimes also referred to as the mother tongue) is acquired without formal education, by mechanisms heavily disputed. Children acquiring two languages in this way are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the case of simultaneous bilinguals one language usually dominates over the other.

A further possibility is that a child may become naturally trilingual by having a mother and father with separate languages being brought up in a third language environment. An example of this may be an English-speaking father married to a Mandarin Chinese speaking mother with the family living in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, where the community language (and primary language of education) is Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

. If the child goes to a Cantonese medium school from a young age, then trilingualism will result.

In linguistics, first language acquisition is closely related to the concept of a "native speaker". According to a view widely held by linguists, a native speaker of a given language has in some respects a level of skill which a second (or subsequent) language learner can hardly reliably accomplish. Consequently, descriptive empirical studies of languages are usually carried out using only native speakers as informants. This view is, however, slightly problematic, particularly as many non-native speakers demonstrably not only successfully engage with and in their non-native language societies, but in fact may become culturally and even linguistically important contributors (as, for example, writers, politicians and performing artists) in their non-native language. In recent years, linguistic research has focused attention on the use of widely known world languages such as English as lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

, or the shared common language of professional and commercial communities. In lingua franca situations, most speakers of the common language are functionally multilingual.

Definition of multilingualism


One group of academics argues for the maximal definition which means speakers are as proficient in one language as they are in others and have as much knowledge of and control over one language as they have of the others. Another group of academics argues for the minimal definition, based on use. Tourists who successfully communicate phrases and ideas while not fluent in a language may be seen as bilingual according to this group.

However, problems may arise with these definitions as they do not specify how much knowledge of a language is required for a person to be classified as bilingual. As a result, since most speakers do not achieve the maximal ideal, language learners may come to be seen as deficient and by extension, language teaching may come to be seen as a failure.

Since 1992, Vivian Cook
Vivian Cook (academic)
Vivian James Cook is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. He is renowned for his work on second language acquisition and second language teaching, and for writing successful textbooks and popular books about linguistics...

 has argued that most multilingual speakers fall somewhere between minimal and maximal definitions. Cook calls these people multi-competent.

Learning language


One view is that of the linguist
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 in what he calls the human language acquisition device
Language acquisition device
The Language Acquisition Device is a postulated "organ" of the brain that is supposed to function as a congenital device for learning symbolic language . First proposed by Noam Chomsky, the LAD concept is an instinctive mental capacity which enables an infant to acquire and produce language. It is...

 '— a mechanism which enables an individual to recreate correctly the rules (grammar) and certain other characteristics of language used by speakers around the learner. This device, according to Chomsky, wears out over time, and is not normally available by puberty
Puberty
Puberty is the process of physical changes by which a child's body matures into an adult body capable of reproduction, as initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads; the ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy...

, which he uses to explain the poor results some adolescents and adults have when learning aspects of a second language
Second language
A second language or L2 is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue. Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as second languages or lingua francas ....

 (L2).

If language learning is a cognitive process
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

, rather than a language acquisition device, as the school led by Stephen Krashen
Stephen Krashen
Stephen Krashen is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, who moved from the linguistics department to the faculty of the School of Education in 1994. He is a linguist, educational researcher, and activist.-Work:...

 suggests, there would only be relative, not categorical, differences between the two types of language learning.

Rod Ellis
Rod Ellis
Professor Rod Ellis is the deputy head of the Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, he is a Cheung Kong Scholar Chair Professor at Shanghai International Studies University , and also a TESOL Professor and Chair of the...

 quotes research finding that the earlier children learn a second language, the better off they are, in terms of pronunciation
Pronunciation
Pronunciation refers to the way a word or a language is spoken, or the manner in which someone utters a word. If one is said to have "correct pronunciation", then it refers to both within a particular dialect....

. See Critical period hypothesis
Critical Period Hypothesis
The critical period hypothesis is the subject of a long-standing debate in linguistics and language acquisition over the extent to which the ability to acquire language is biologically linked to age...

. European schools generally offer secondary language classes for their students early on, due to the interconnectedness with neighbour countries with different languages. Most European students now study at least two foreign languages, a process strongly encouraged by the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

.

Based on the research in Ann Fathman’s The Relationship between age and second language productive ability, there is a difference in the rate of learning of English morphology, syntax and phonology based upon differences in age, but that the order of acquisition in second language learning does not change with age.

People who have Multilanguage background will find out their native language would influence their second language in any other ages.

In second language
Second language
A second language or L2 is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue. Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as second languages or lingua francas ....

 class, students will commonly face the difficulties on thinking in the target language because they are influenced by their native language and culture patterns. Robert B. Kaplan thinks that in second language classes, the foreign-student paper is out of focus because the foreign student is employing rhetoric and a sequence of thought which violate the expectations of the native reader. Foreign students who have mastered syntactic structures have still demonstrated inability to compose adequate themes, term papers, theses, and dissertations. Robert B. Kaplan describes two key words that affect people when they learn a second language. Logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 in the popular, rather than the logician's sense of the word, which is the basis of rhetoric, is evolved out of a culture; it is not universal. Rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

, then, is not universal either, but varies, from culture to culture and even from time to time within a given culture. Language teachers know how to predict the differences between pronunciations or constructions in different languages, but they might be less clear about the differences between rhetoric, that is, in the way they use language to accomplish various purposes, particularly in writing.

Comparing multilingual speakers



Even if someone is highly proficient in two or more languages, his or her so-called communicative competence or ability may not be as balanced. Linguists have distinguished various types of multilingual competence, which can roughly be put into two categories:
  • For compound bilinguals, words and phrases in different languages are the same concepts. That means that 'chien' and 'dog' are two words for the same concept for a French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

    -English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     speaker of this type. These speakers are usually fluent in both languages.

  • For coordinate bilinguals, words and phrases in the speaker's mind are all related to their own unique concepts. Thus a bilingual speaker of this type has different associations for 'chien' and for 'dog'. In these individuals, one language, usually the first language, is more dominant than the other, and the first language may be used to think through the second language. These speakers are known to use very different intonation and pronunciation features, and sometimes to assert the feeling of having different personalities attached to each of their languages.

  • A sub-group of the latter is the subordinate bilingual, which is typical of beginning second language learners.


The distinction between compound and coordinate bilingualism has come under scrutiny. When studies are done of multilinguals, most are found to show behavior intermediate between compound and coordinate bilingualism. Some authors have suggested that the distinction should only be made at the level of grammar rather than vocabulary, others use "coordinate bilingual" as a synonym for one who has learned two languages from birth, and others have proposed dropping the distinction altogether (see Baetens-Beardsmore, 1974 for discussion).

Many theorists are now beginning to view bilingualism as a "spectrum or continuum of bilingualism" that runs from the relatively monolingual language learner to highly proficient bilingual speakers who function at high levels in both languages (Garland, 2007).

Cognitive ability



Bilinguals who are highly proficient in two or more languages are reported to have enhanced executive function, different organization in some cortical areas, and are better at some aspects of language learning compared to monolinguals.

There is also a phenomenon known as distractive bilingualism or semilingualism. When acquisition of the first language is interrupted and insufficient or unstructured language input follows from the second language, as sometimes happens with immigrant
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 children, the speaker can end up with two languages both mastered below the monolingual standard. Literacy plays an important role in the development of language in these immigrant children. Those who were literate in their first language before arriving, and who have support to maintain that literacy, are at the very least able to maintain and master their first language.

Receptive bilingualism



Receptive bilinguals are those who have the ability to understand a second language, but do not speak it. Receptive bilingualism may occur when a child thinks that the community language is more prestigious than the language spoken within the household and chooses to speak to their parents in the community language only. Families who adopt this mode of communication can be highly functional, although they may not be seen as bilingual. Receptive bilinguals may rapidly achieve oral fluency when placed in situations where they are required to speak the heritage language.

Receptive bilingualism is not the same as mutual intelligibility
Mutual intelligibility
In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort...

, which is the case of a native Spanish speaker who is able to understand Portuguese, or vice versa, due to the high lexical and grammatical similarities between Spanish and Portuguese.

Definition of "language"


There is no clear definition of what it means to "speak a language". A tourist who can handle a simple conversation with a waiter may be completely lost when it comes to discussing current affairs or even using multiple tenses. A diplomat or businessman who can handle complicated negotiations in a foreign language may not be able to write a simple letter correctly. A four-year-old French child would usually be said to "speak French fluently", but it is possible that he cannot handle the grammar as well as even some mediocre foreign students of the language do and may have a very limited vocabulary despite possibly having perfect pronunciation. On the other hand, it is quite common that even very highly accomplished linguists may speak the language(s) of which they are experts with a distinct accent and to have gaps in their active vocabulary when it comes to everyday topics and situations.

Because the development of spoken fluency requires prolonged exposure to a given language, claims of extensive polyglottism must generally be understood to refer to the mastery of basic communicative skills along with the grammatical rules and (possibly) an extensive vocabulary in the target languages, rather than a near-native level of spoken fluency. In historical times prior to audio and video recordings which can be used to facilitate artificial language exposure, quite unusual circumstances would have been needed for an individual to achieve high-level spoken fluency in several languages. Although it is possible to learn the grammatical rules and vocabulary of a language from books alone, such an individual might not be able to communicate in the language at all, neither understanding the language as it sounds spoken out loud nor being able to produce the sounds him- or herself.

In addition there is no clear definition of what "one language" means. For instance, scholars often disagree whether Scots
Scots language
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

 is a language in its own right or a dialect of English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

.

As another example, a person who has learned five different languages such as French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 and Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, all belonging to the closely related group of Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

, has accomplished something less difficult than a person who has learnt Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Chinese
Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

, Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Navajo
Navajo language
Navajo or Navaho is an Athabaskan language spoken in the southwestern United States. It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages .Navajo has more speakers than any other Native American language north of the...

, and Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

, none of which is remotely related to another.

Furthermore, what is considered a language can change, often for purely political purposes, such as when Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

 was assembled from Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

 and Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

 and later split after Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 broke up, or when Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 was dismissed as a Russian dialect by the Russian tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

s to discourage national feelings.

Many small independent nations' schoolchildren are today compelled to learn multiple languages because of international interactions. For example in Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, all children are required to learn at least two foreign languages: the other national language (Swedish or Finnish) and one alien language (usually English). Many Finnish schoolchildren also select further languages, such as French, German or Spanish. Some large nations such as India with multiple languages, school children may routinely learn multiple languages based on where they reside in the country. In major metros of Central, South and East India, many children may be fluent in four languages (the mother tongue, the state language, the national language (Hindi) and English.) Thus a child of Gujarati parents living in Bangalore will end up speaking his mother tongue (Gujarati) at home and the state language (Kannada), Hindi and English in school and his surroundings.

Multilingualism within communities




Widespread multilingualism is one form of language contact
Language contact
Language contact occurs when two or more languages or varieties interact. The study of language contact is called contact linguistics.Multilingualism has likely been common throughout much of human history, and today most people in the world are multilingual...

. Multilingualism was more common in the past than is usually supposed: in early times, when most people were members of small language communities, it was necessary to know two or more languages for trade or any other dealings outside one's own town or village, and this holds good today in places of high linguistic diversity such as Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Linguist Ekkehard Wolff estimates that 50% of the population of Africa is multilingual.

In multilingual societies, not all speakers need to be multilingual. Some states can have multilingual policies and recognise several official languages, such as Canada (English and French). In some states, particular languages may be associated with particular regions in the state (e.g., Canada) or with particular ethnicities (Malaysia/Singapore). When all speakers are multilingual, linguists classify the community according to the functional distribution of the languages involved:
  • diglossia
    Diglossia
    In linguistics, diglossia refers to a situation in which two dialects or languages are used by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety , a second, highly codified variety is used in certain situations such as literature, formal...

    : if there is a structural functional distribution of the languages involved, the society is termed 'diglossic'. Typical diglossic areas are those areas in Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

     where a regional language
    Regional language
    A regional language is a language spoken in an area of a nation state, whether it be a small area, a federal state or province, or some wider area....

     is used in informal, usually oral, contexts, while the state language is used in more formal situations. Frisia
    Frisia
    Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

     (with Frisian and German
    German language
    German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

     or Dutch
    Dutch language
    Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

    ) and Lusatia
    Lusatia
    Lusatia is a historical region in Central Europe. It stretches from the Bóbr and Kwisa rivers in the east to the Elbe valley in the west, today located within the German states of Saxony and Brandenburg as well as in the Lower Silesian and Lubusz voivodeships of western Poland...

     (with Sorbian
    Sorbian languages
    The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

     and German) are well-known examples. Some writers limit diglossia to situations where the languages are closely related, and could be considered dialects of each other. This can also be observed in Scotland where in formal situations, English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     is used. However, in informal situations in many areas, Scots
    Scots language
    Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

     is the preferred language of choice.
  • ambilingualism: a region is called ambilingual if this functional distribution is not observed. In a typical ambilingual area it is nearly impossible to predict which language will be used in a given setting. True ambilingualism is rare. Ambilingual tendencies can be found in small states with multiple heritages like Luxembourg
    Luxembourg
    Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

    , which has a combined Franco-Germanic heritage, or Malaysia and Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

    , which fuses the cultures of Malays, China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , and India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    . Ambilingualism also can manifest in specific regions of larger states that have both a clearly dominant state language (be it de jure or de facto) and a protected minority language that is limited in terms of distribution of speakers within the country. This tendency is especially pronounced when, even though the local language is widely spoken, there is a reasonable assumption that all citizens speak the predominant state tongue (E.g., English in Quebec vs. Canada; Spanish in Catalonia vs. Spain). This phenomenon can also occur in border regions with many cross-border contacts.
  • bipart-lingualism: if more than one language can be heard in a small area, but the large majority of speakers are monolinguals, who have little contact with speakers from neighbouring ethnic groups, an area is called 'bipart-lingual'. An example of this is the Balkans
    Balkans
    The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

    .

Multilingualism between different language speakers


Whenever two people meet, negotiations take place. If they want to express solidarity and sympathy, they tend to seek common features in their behavior. If speakers wish to express distance towards or even dislike of the person they are speaking to, the reverse is true, and differences are sought. This mechanism also extends to language, as described in the Communication Accommodation Theory.

Some multilinguals use code-switching
Code-switching
In linguistics, code-switching is the concurrent use of more than one language, or language variety, in conversation. Multilinguals—people who speak more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other...

, a term that describes the process of 'swapping' between languages. In many cases, code-switching is motivated by the wish to express loyalty to more than one cultural group, as holds for many immigrant communities in the New World. Code-switching may also function as a strategy where proficiency is lacking. Such strategies are common if the vocabulary of one of the http://www.google.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:officiallanguages is not very elaborated for certain fields, or if the speakers have not developed proficiency in certain lexical domains, as in the case of immigrant languages.

This code-switching appears in many forms. If a speaker has a positive attitude towards both languages and towards code-switching, many switches can be found, even within the same sentence. If, however, the speaker is reluctant to use code-switching, as in the case of a lack of proficiency, he might knowingly or unknowingly try to camouflage his attempt by converting elements of one language into elements of the other language. This results in speakers using words like courrier noir (literally mail that is black) in French, instead of the proper word for blackmail
Blackmail
In common usage, blackmail is a crime involving threats to reveal substantially true or false information about a person to the public, a family member, or associates unless a demand is met. It may be defined as coercion involving threats of physical harm, threat of criminal prosecution, or threats...

, chantage.

Sometimes a pidgin language may develop. A pidgin language is basically a fusion of two languages, which is mutually understandable for both speakers. Some pidgin languages develop into real languages (such as papiamento
Papiamento
Papiamento is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean ABC islands, having the official status on the islands of Aruba and Curaçao. The language is also recognized on Bonaire by the Dutch government....

 at Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

) while other remain as slangs or jargons (such as Helsinki slang
Helsinki slang
Helsinki slang or stadin slangi is a local dialect and a sociolect of the Finnish language mainly used in the capital Helsinki...

, which is more or less mutually intelligible
Mutual intelligibility
In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is recognized as a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort...

 both in Finnish and Swedish). In other cases, prolonged influence of languages on each other may have the effect of changing one or both to the point where it may be considered that a new language is born. For example, many linguists believe that the Occitan language and the Catalan language
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 were formed because a population speaking a single Occitano-Romance language was divided into political spheres of influence of France and Spain, respectively. The Ukrainian language
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

 is considered distinct from Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 partly due to a large number of borrowings from the Polish language
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 in the vocabulary of the former, and borrowings from Turkic languages in the latter. Yiddish language
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 is a complex blend of Old German
Old German
Old German usually refers to Old High German, but it could also refer to:*Old Low German *Altdeutsche Tracht , a dress style popular among early 19th century German radicals...

 with Hebrew and borrowings from Slavic languages.

Bilingual interaction can even take place without the speakers switching. In certain areas, it is not uncommon for speakers each to use a different language within the same conversation. This phenomenon is found, amongst other places, in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

. Most speakers of Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 and Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

, and Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, can communicate with each other speaking their respective languages, while few can speak both (people used to these situations often adjust their language, avoiding words that are not found in the other language or that can be misunderstood). Using different languages is usually called non-convergent discourse
Non-convergent discourse
A non-convergent discourse is a discourse in which the participants do not accommodate on the language level, which results in the use of different languages. Alternative names for this phenomenon are asymmetric and bilingual discourse....

, a term introduced by the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 linguist Reitze Jonkman. The phenomenon is also found in Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, where Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 are both widely spoken, even leading to cases where a child with a Spanish and an Italian parent grows up fully bilingual, with both parents speaking only their own language yet knowing the other. Another example is the former state of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, where two languages (Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

) were in common use. Most Czechs and Slovaks understand both languages, although they would use only one of them (their respective mother tongue) when speaking. For example, in Czechoslovakia it was common to hear two people talking on television each speaking a different language without any difficulty understanding each other. This bilinguality still exists nowadays, although it has started to deteriorate after Czechoslovakia split up .

In Canada there are several areas where French and English meet. It is quite common at dinner to speak only one language and listen in both. One even forgets what language the other person was speaking. With the coming of the 150th year of existence for Toronto the term Sesquicentennial Celebration was coined. Sesquicentennial means one and a half centuries. All across Ontario people suddenly knew what to call this one and a half language ability; sesquilingual. The term is now very universal. This use was first recorded in print in 1983 by William Sherk as seen in his 'Introduction' to 500 Years of New Words, Doubleday Canada Limited, Toronto, Canada; 1983. http://www.encyclo.co.uk/define/sesquilingual.

Models for native language literacy programs


Sociopolitical as well as socio-cultural identity arguments may influence native language literacy. While these two camps may occupy much of the debate about which languages children will learn to read, a greater emphasis on the linguistic aspects of the argument is appropriate. In spite of the political turmoil precipitated by this debate, researchers continue to espouse a linguistic basis for it. This rationale is based upon the work of Jim Cummins (1983).

Sequential model



In this model, learners receive literacy instruction in their native language until they acquire a "threshold" literacy proficiency. Some researchers use age 3 as the age when a child has basic communicative competence in L1 (Kessler, 1984). Children may go through a process of sequential acquisition if they migrate at a young age to a country where a different language is spoken, or if the child exclusively speaks his or her heritage language at home until he/she is immersed in a school setting where instruction is offered in a different language.

The phases children go through during sequential acquisition are less linear than for simultaneous acquisition and can vary greatly among children. Sequential acquisition is a more complex and lengthier process, although there is no indication that non language-delayed children end up less proficient than simultaneous bilinguals, so long as they receive adequate input in both languages.

Bilingual model



In this model, the native language and the community language are simultaneously taught. The advantage is literacy in two languages as the outcome. However, the teacher must be well-versed in both languages and also in techniques for teaching a second language.

Coordinate model


This model posits that equal time should be spent in separate instruction of the native language and of the community language. The native language class, however, focuses on basic literacy while the community language class focuses on listening and speaking skills. Being a bilingual does not necessarily mean that one can speak, for example, English and French.

Outcomes


Cummins' research concluded that the development of competence in the native language serves as a foundation of proficiency that can be transposed to the second language — the common underlying proficiency hypothesis. His work sought to overcome the perception propagated in the 1960s that learning two languages made for two competing aims. The belief was that the two languages were mutually exclusive and that learning a second required unlearning elements and dynamics of the first in order to accommodate the second (Hakuta, 1990). The evidence for this perspective relied on the fact that some errors in acquiring the second language were related to the rules of the first language (Hakuta, 1990). How this hypothesis holds under different types of languages such as Romance versus non-Western languages has yet to undergo research.

Another new development that has influenced the linguistic argument for bilingual literacy is the length of time necessary to acquire the second language. While previously children were believed to have the ability to learn a language within a year, today researchers believe that within and across academic settings, the time span is nearer to five years (Collier, 1992; Ramirez, 1992).

An interesting outcome of studies during the early 1990s however confirmed that students who do successfully complete bilingual instruction perform better academically (Collier, 1992; Ramirez, 1992). These students exhibit more cognitive elasticity including a better ability to analyse abstract visual patterns. Students who receive bidirectional bilingual instruction where equal proficiency in both languages is required perform at an even higher level. Examples of such programs include international and multi-national education schools.

Multilingualism in computing


Multilingualisation (or "m17n") of computer systems can be considered part of a continuum between localisation ("L10n
L10n
For L10n or L10N , see:* Language localisation* Internationalization and localization...

") and internationalisation ("i18n"):
  • A localised system has been adapted or converted for a particular locale (other than the one it was originally developed for), including the language of the user interface, input, and display, and features such as time/date display and currency; but each instance of the system only supports a single locale.
  • Multilingualised software supports multiple languages for display and input simultaneously, but generally has a single user interface language. Support for other locale features like time, date, number and currency formats may vary as the system tends towards full internationalisation. Generally a multilingualised system is intended for use in a specific locale, whilst allowing for multilingual content.
  • An internationalised system is equipped for use in a range of locales, allowing for the co-existence of several languages and character sets in user interfaces and displays. In particular, a system may not be considered internationalised in the fullest sense unless the interface language is selectable by the user at runtime.


Translating the user interface is usually part of the software localization process, which also includes adaptations such as units and date conversion. Many software applications are available in several languages, ranging from a handful (the most spoken languages) to dozens for the most popular applications (such as office suite
Office suite
In computing, an office suite, sometimes called an office software suite or productivity suite is a collection of programs intended to be used by knowledge workers...

s, web browser
Web browser
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content...

s, etc.). Due to the status of English in computing, software development nearly always uses it (but see also Non-English-based programming languages
Non-English-based programming languages
Non-English-based programming languages are computer programming languages that, unlike better-known programming languages, do not use keywords taken from, or inspired by, the English vocabulary.- Prevalence of English-based programming languages :...

), so almost all commercial software is initially available in an English version, and multilingual versions, if any, may be produced as alternative options based on the English original.

Linguistic aspects

  • Adamic language
    Adamic language
    The Adamic language is, according to certain sects within Abrahamic traditions, the language spoken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, i.e., either the language used by God to address Adam, or the language invented by Adam ....

  • Bimodal bilingualism
  • Cognitive advantages to bilingualism
    Cognitive advantages to bilingualism
    Historically, bilingualism was thought to be detrimental to a child's cognitive and linguistic abilities. However, more recent evidence suggests that bilingualism can actually bestow a set of cognitive benefits, and it may enhance literacy.-Old misconceptions:...

  • Diglossia
    Diglossia
    In linguistics, diglossia refers to a situation in which two dialects or languages are used by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety , a second, highly codified variety is used in certain situations such as literature, formal...

  • Home language
    Home language
    Following a widely accepted definition by Valdes , a heritage language is a language that is acquired by individuals raised in homes where the dominant language of the region, such as English in the United States, is not spoken or not exclusively spoken...

  • Language attrition
    Language attrition
    Language attrition is the loss of a first or second language or a portion of that language by individuals. Speakers who routinely use more than one language may not use either of their languages in ways which are exactly like that of a monolingual speaker...

  • Metalinguistic awareness
    Metalinguistic awareness
    Metalinguistic Awareness refers to the ability to objectify language as a process as well as a thing. The concept of Metalinguistic Awareness is helpful to explaining the execution and transfer of linguistic knowledge across languages Metalinguistic Awareness refers to the ability to objectify...

  • Multialphabetism
    Multialphabetism
    The term multialphabetism describes parallel use of different alphabets. One can discriminate between* Multialphabetic languages, e.g. Japanese which uses logograms as well as syllabaries , or Latin letters ....

  • Non-convergent discourse
    Non-convergent discourse
    A non-convergent discourse is a discourse in which the participants do not accommodate on the language level, which results in the use of different languages. Alternative names for this phenomenon are asymmetric and bilingual discourse....

  • Second language acquisition
    Second language acquisition
    Second-language acquisition or second-language learning is the process by which people learn a second language. Second-language acquisition is also the name of the scientific discipline devoted to studying that process...

  • Spanglish
    Spanglish
    .Spanglish refers to the blend of Spanish and English, in the speech of people who speak parts of two languages, or whose normal language is different from that of the country where they live. The Hispanic population of the United States and the British population in Argentina use varieties of...

  • Plurilingualism
    Plurilingualism
    Plurilingualism is a situation wherein a person who has competence in more than one language can switch between languages – from one language to another and vice versa – according to the circumstances at hand for the purpose of coping with a social matter. There is a distinction between...


Policies and proposals

  • European Commissioner for Multilingualism
  • English-only movement
    English-only movement
    English-only movement, also known as Official English movement, refers to a political movement for the use only of the English language in official government operations through the establishing of English as the only official language in the United States...

  • Language legislation in Belgium
    Language legislation in Belgium
    -1830: freedom of languages and linguistic coercion:One of the causes of the Belgian Revolution of the 1830s was the growing ascendancy of the Dutch language in the administration of the Southern provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

  • Official bilingualism in Canada

Other

  • Bilingual name
    Bilingual name
    A bilingual name is a name of a person that is spelled, if not pronounced, exactly the same in two languages. The speakers of a certain language usually have names that do not exist in another language. Even when the name has a common root or refers to the same historic or religious figure,...

  • Bilingual sign
    Bilingual sign
    A bilingual sign is the representation on a panel of texts in more than one language...

  • Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre
    Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre
    Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre is an academic organization of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.-Purpose:...

     (in Hong Kong)
  • Economics of language
    Economics of language
    The economics of language is an emerging field of study concerning a range of topics such as the effect of language on culture, income, markets for language-related goods and services, and the costs and benefits of language planning options, preservation of minority languages, etc. It is relevant...

  • Linguapax Prize
    Linguapax Prize
    The Linguapax Prize is awarded annually on International Mother Language Day by the Linguapax Institute to "to linguists, researchers, professors and members of the civil society in acknowledgement of their outstanding work in the field linguistic diversity and/or multilingual...

  • List of artworks known in English by a foreign title
  • The Multilingual Library
    The Multilingual Library
    The Multilingual Library in Oslo, Norway is a competence centre for multicultural library services, and acts as an advisor to libraries.The Multilingual Library purchases and lends out books, audio books, movies and music in the following languages: Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Burmese,...

  • :Category:Multilingual broadcasters

Further reading


http://issuu.com/frse/docs/issues_in_promoting_multilingualism_internet/1

External links