Effects of Bilingualism in an Individual
Around 21.6 percent of the United States speaks another language other than English at home (“Census”). The more an individual practice the language the more benefits it will have in their everyday life. The early development of a second language has many cognitive benefits. Cognitive benefits are referred to anything related to a mental process. Cognitive benefits can include an increase in memory, focus, understanding, and judgment (“Cognitive”).
A person can learn a language by living in an area where the specific language is spoken. A language could also be learned in school, watching TV, and by easily playing word games. To be successful in learning a new language or remembering the one already known is to practice. Practicing the language can sharpen your mind and enhance decision making. Being bilingual allows individuals global interactions, increase job opportunities and improve brain functions.
Language, a blend of words and sounds which create a sentence. Bilingualism is the ability to speak and understand two languages. Those individuals whom only speak one language would be known as Monolinguals. Most bilingual individuals are exposed to a second language early in their childhood. Other bilingual individuals decide to learn the language later on in life.
Under the same subject there are different categories. An individual can experience simultaneous bilingualism, which is when a child has been exposed to two different languages since birth. Sequential bilingualism individuals would be known as language learners (“Bilingualism”). Language learners could learn the language in school, self-teaching, being exposed to the language when traveling to another country later on in life.
Bilingual students would be known best as those whom outperforms monolingual students. Bilingual students are known to have good time management, multitasking skills, creativity, focus, and understanding. Changing between languages help the brain stay active. Keeping the brain active helps with increasing focus.
Increased focus helps the individual pay attention in class and have a better performance. Based on a research performing, “The Strop Task” in 2008 comparing monolingual and bilingual performance using words and colors. During the study it was observed how monolinguals needed more time and explanation compared to bilingual individuals (Bialystok). Bilingual individuals have shown to have a faster response time, more focus on a task and improved cognitive skills.
Being bilingual allows global interactions. Speaking another language allows the individual to make social and professional connections. When traveling the individual is exposed to explore and practice the language. “This environment requires Americans to equip themselves with languages that will allow them to interact” (Abbott). Abbott wanted to raise awareness to all individuals who believed that learning a second language is not only used while traveling.
To build global interactions, we need to have local ones. The United States is well diverse country, made up of all different backgrounds and languages. This country is known for being “the home of the free”, no one is more American than another. The warm welcoming of different races, cultures, and beliefs. America need to keep learning more languages in order to interact with the beautiful group of individuals surrounding it.
In a professional work environment skills, motivation and preparation are well needed but being bilingual has a clear advantage. Taking time to learn a second language shows strong work ethic and ambition. Bilingual individuals are more understanding, rational and have a clearer judgment. “This skill boosts your ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well” (“Why”). Businesses are constantly looking to reach customers all over the world.
An individual with the linguistic ability is more likely to build a connection with their coworkers or customers in which opportunities can emerge. “Over the past five years, demand for bilingual workers in the United States more than doubled”. In the article it revealed the high demand for bilingual jobs. From 2010 to 2015 the jobs aimed to bilingual individuals increased by 390,000 more postings towards bilingual speakers. (“Demand”).
However, many monolinguals have come to the conclusion where bilingual individuals could also have cognitive disadvantages. Based on a study called, “The Dot Test” it was found that bilingualism may be associated with cognitive disadvantages. In the study the members were asked to look at circles and determine how many dots were in it.
After a couple of trials, it was clear that monolingual and bilingual individuals made closely the same decision. At the end of the study the monolingual individuals were more acceptable when it came to being wrong. It was proved that bilingual individuals had less knowledge and acceptance of their performance in the study (Ouzia).
The brain of bilingual individuals is often active, they think in the language in which they feel more comfortable in. When the brain is always working it helps an individual increase focus, which leads to better performance and a higher ability to multitask. When monolinguals travel to a different country where they don’t speak the language, it would be hard for them to complete their purpose. Communicating and being active in the community could be a challenge for monolinguals in a foreign country.
Once a bilingual individual who practiced the language arrives the foreign country, they can introduce themselves to the environment. Once the individual can communicate, they could build personal and professional relationships. Professional relationships can lead to target a new customer base, or they can target new accessible jobs.
The exposure to bilingualism allows individuals to have worldwide interactions, increase job opportunities and improve brain function. It grants the opportunities to explore the different cultures and beliefs surrounding them. It should be a priority for school and parents to expose their children to different cultures and languages, not to only have a child culturally aware but with the linguistics to better themselves.
Parents should want their children to challenge themselves with learning a new language which will be to their advantage in the future. Bilingualism permits the exposure of your mind to new stimulating obstacles for your brain. Bilingualism open doors to job opportunities and important connections, a higher pay and more improved learning skills.