The Benefits Of Multilingualism

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Everyone knows what multilingualism is – the capacity to speak two or more languages. What is that everyone seems to agree on? That multilingualism is multi-beneficial: better career opportunities, communication between family and community members, ability to live abroad and so many more. But do people know what multilingualism is really about since most of the articles, books, movies out there on the subject of bilingualism speak about its advantages, raising bilingual children and development of bilingual education? “Preface: Bilingual Lives, Bilingual Experience” (2004) by Anna Wierzbicka - professor in the Department of Linguistics, Australian National University (researchers.anu.edu.au) - addresses the issue as the author’s main thesis is that a new language is not only a new way of thinking, a new way of communicating, but also a new way of feeling and expressing emotions. Since we live in a world where emotion is “a hot topic” (Preface, 97- 98) and “…available data indicate that there are many more bilingual or multilingual individuals in the world than there are monolingual” (Richard Tucker) it’s vital to know more about the emotional struggles and double experiences of bilingual people. And this is why Wierzbicka’s work is important - she successfully manages to shift the attention from the well-known practical importance of multilingualism (such as wider job prospects and greater social mobility) onto the emotional, life-changing importance of it and she is
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