Benefits Of Multilingualism

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Everyone can agree that multilingualism is very important in our globalized world, especially within the European Union where numerous different languages are spoken. According to the European Commission (2009), 23 official languages are to be found in the European Union, not counting all the languages without official status. The aim of this paper is to answer the question: How do European countries, companies and individuals benefit from multilingualism?

First of all, what is multilingualism? According to the encyclopedia reference.com, multilingualism is the ability to speak two or more languages. “Multilingual can refer to an individual speaker who uses two or more languages, a community of speakers in which two or
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The economic potential of multilingualism is therefore high both for companies and for the society. However, the trend in most countries is not towards learning more languages, in fact, in some countries the trend is even negative, according to Christoph Brammertz in the article The European Economy – No Chance On The Global Market Without Multilingualism (2009). He uses Austria as an example of a country where fewer people chose to learn a foreign language other than…show more content…
A group of researchers and debaters claim that multilingualism is not something to strive for and that English should be the only language alongside the national language, or even replace the national language. One holder of this opinion is Daniele Archibugi (2009) who argues that there are too many languages within Europe and that our goal for the future should be to use only English. In the article Archibugi highlights the problems related to the use of different languages in the European Union and the consequences in the daily work. According to the article the European Union parliament needs 426 interpreters to translate the languages used in the parliament. There are undeniably negative sides of multilingualism but the problem with Archibugi’s opinion is that it neglects that a language is profoundly linked to the culture and the way of living in a certain culture. If you replace a language, a major part of the culture will be lost. An example of that are the Samis, the native people, in the Nordic countries in Europe. Peter Sköld (2009) is conveying a picture of a weakened culture facing the risk of disappearing as a result of an earlier imposed ban on using the native language, a ban that was not lifted until the
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