In this global era, it’s necessary to be able to converse in more than one language. Hence, we should embrace the benefits of being bilingual.
Being able to speak two languages gives you an edge in many areas of life. We’re here to tell you what they are.
A Case Study of Singapore
A bilingual is a person who can use two languages with equal facility. According to the estimates, approximately 43% of the world’s population can speak two languages. Bilinguals are typically fluent in one word and acquire the other either simultaneously or later in life.
Singapore is an example of a country which has implemented a bilingual policy successfully, and its people have. It is a country with a population of roughly 5 million. The small nation comprises four major ethnic groups – 77% Chinese, 13.9% Malay, 7.9 % Indian, and 1.4 % other races.
This racial diversity is one of the primary motivators for the bilingual policy mentioned above. Bilingualism is a part of government planning. The Singapore government aims to develop Singaporeans proficiency in the English Language (Singapore was a British colony from 1819 to 1959) and their mother tongue languages (Mandarin, Tamil, or Malay).
While the English Language isn’t an official language, citizens must learn it for socio-economic reasons. Learning the mother tongues promotes cultural understanding. Owing to concern that English would ‘de-Asianize’ Singaporeans, the Singapore government made it compulsory for citizens to acquire a mother tongue language.
Balanced bilingualism is difficult – it’s hard for a person to speak two languages with equal fluency and Singaporeans will attest to this. However, most of them speak English and Mother Tongue languages with some facility, if not precision. The bilingual policy has connected citizens with their respective Asian cultures and the Western world. It has provided many economic opportunities.
Bilingualism has enabled Singaporeans of all races to form firm friendships. English links the various ethnic groups, facilitating communication and cultural understanding. It is the lingua franca, with no mother tongue language favored over another.
Seven amazing advantages of being bilingual, according to science
So, bilingualism gives a person an edge, in more ways than one. Here’s how speaking two languages can put you a cut above the rest.
1. Improved cognition
Research proves that being bilingual offers a multitude of cognitive benefits. Speaking two languages increases a person’s attention span. They will also multitask better than people who only speak one language.
This facility comes about because bilinguals switch from one task to another. Because bilinguals have to toggle between two language systems, they become more aware of their environments.
2. Bilingualism gives an educational edge
Another of the benefits bilingual people have is being more successful in school. According to the millennium cohort study, bilingual children often outperform their peers though they may lag behind them initially.
3. Bilingualism presents employment opportunities.
Employers in the fields of tourism, sales, or journalism place a high priority on bilingualism. It shapes or breaks careers. Speaking more than one language moves employees up the career ladder quickly.
4. Health Benefits
Research proves that bilingualism can boost a person’s health. Scientists have found that it can delay Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. It also accelerates stroke recovery, decreases stress, and slows other effects of aging.
It has other health benefits too. Research shows that being fluent in two languages improves recovery after a stroke. The effects apply to both children and adults.
5. Bilingualism enables a person to view the world from different perspectives.
Charlemagne once said that a second language gives a person another soul. Bilingualism allows a person to see the world in different ways. People even say that speaking two languages provides a person with a second personality.
Bilinguals often shift their thoughts, so change doesn’t faze them. Environmental changes don’t usually affect them, so they are more open-minded than their monolingual peers. They are also creative thinkers and can work on different projects at the same time. They are empathetic and able to appreciate different points of view.
6. Bilingualism makes traveling easier
Seasoned travelers would disagree with anyone who tells them that they need a second language to move around in another country. But it would undoubtedly enrich their experiences. Immersion in a country’s language and culture would make your travel experience more enjoyable than it is.
7. Bilingualism widens a person’s social circle.
Bilingualism presents friendship opportunities. You can become friends with people of different cultures, enjoy their hobbies, and participate in various activities. You’re able to connect with people in different ways. It opens many doors and windows in life.
Bilingual children pick up social skills quickly. A second language increases opportunities to converse. They can also communicate with others more empathetically than children who speak only one language.
8. A bilingual person sees themselves in several ways.
A study, which involved observing nine-year-olds, found them to have more detailed descriptions of themselves and others. They could use their imaginations to describe themselves in meaningful ways and were better able to relate to others than they would be otherwise.
So, bilingualism offers us opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise consider. Enjoy the benefits of being bilingual and learn a second language.
Copyright © 2012-2020 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.