What is the Importance of Being Bilingual?

What is the importance of being bilingual and what does it do for the world?

Pixy.org

What is the importance of being bilingual and what does it do for the world?

By Hayley B., Edhen A., and Aishwarya A.

Being bilingual can be a valuable skill for everyday life. Not only when traveling to another country, but in everyday trips out and about in Southern California, it makes everything so much easier being bilingual. Like anything else, the trick is starting a new language at a young age, when all things seem easier to develop.

Sometimes, kids speak a second language when they are younger because of family members in their homes. They may have emigrated from another country and find themselves uncomfortable with English. This makes it easier with constant communication among family.

“I speak two languages and I’ve been speaking them my whole life. I learned them at a young age because my whole family speaks these languages,” said Rylee C.  

“I know one language, Tamil (a language spoken primarily in India),” Pooja H. added. “I have known this language from when I was around 5. Since my grandparents don’t really speak English, speaking in Tamil was one of the main ways to communicate with them.”

If you learn another language for your family, you might speak it a lot. It is easier to speak another language for family. Rylee said, “I speak French when I want to, but I mostly speak English. My family speaks English most of the time, also.”

According to The Amazing Benefits of Being Bilingual, “Research in the last decade by neurologists, psychologists and linguists, using the latest brain-imaging tools, is revealing a swathe of cognitive benefits for bilinguals. It’s all to do with how our ever-flexible minds learn to multitask.”

Sometimes being bilingual isn’t connected to family at all. Instead, it may be motivated by the hope for a specific job or future personal goal. 

Aniya G. says, “My parents only wanted me to learn Spanish since I am Mexican but I also wanted to learn Japanese.” 

Another motivator may be future travel. It can make it easier to mingle with locals or foreign family without being clearly identified as a tourist. “Learning multiple languages makes it easier to travel and communicate with people who don’t speak English,” said Aniya. 

“First of all, you can impress relatives and also, for the relatives that prefer to speak in their native language, it’s easier to talk with them,” said Pooja. 

Being bilingual definitely has its advantages!

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” -Frank Smith

This story was originally published on The Day Creek Howl on February 26, 2021.