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I feel all people would benefit from mastering a second language. I have spent several days researching this and I have found out that there is many wonderful benefits to this skill. The job opportunities are incredible. It has even been proven that bilingualism has cognitive advantages across the entire lifespan, from children to adults.
According to the “Canadian Modern Language Review” an article by Lazarak,Wally called “Advantages linguistics, scolaires et cognitifs de l’immersion francaise”, their review after several studies shows that FI programs enable students to develop levels of proficiency in both French and English, at no cost to their academic success. Further to say Cognitive research associates bilingualism with heightened mental flexibility and creative thinking skills enhanced metalinguistic awareness, and great communicative sensitivity.
The cognitive aspects of learning a second language is astonishing. The brain works extra hard to learn a second language. An article in Guest Editorial “Cutting edge research in bilingualism” by Margaret Deuchar, states that a range of experiments involving non-linguistic cognitive tasks performed by both monolinguals and bilinguals, that bilinguals exhibit superior performance, She argues that the superior performance of bilinguals can be attributed to their lifetime experience in alternating between two active languages.
Knowledge of a second language gives you a competitive edge. We need to make ourselves more valuable to prospective employers. The country is becoming way more diverse. This is a useful career move to make. Say your company merges with a foreign company and moves abroad. It would be very useful to you to know a second language. Many careers are available for bilinguals, Flight attendants, Sales, Geologists, paralegals, travel agents, bank tellers and social workers. This may even be a necessity with these types of employment. Employees of major companies go to other countries for business trips or to live. Interpreting as a career has sky rocketed.
It is a struggle everyday for those who migrate to our country. They do not speak English and not all business have translators. This is very inconvenient, and frustrating for them. The demand for translators is too high. They come to America with a dream and it can be crushed in one visit because we as Americans look at them funny and always want to say “learn English or go home”. I hear this everyday where I live and it’s frustrating for me to hear that.
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There is a bilingual business award being sponsored for the first time. This is aimed at rewarding businesses at all sizes. Ranging from small businesses to large organizations. Some colleges are even translating their state brochures into other languages. The VanCouver Sun reports that the commissioner of official languages, Dyane Adam, is distressed that English and French are not treated equally as languages in the daily life of public service. Why aren’t we asking why $18.5 million a year is spent to fund the official languages Commissioners office, yet bilingualism is still very scarce.
Many research studies have documented the success of bilingual instruction in promoting achievement as well as literacy among students in both English and the native languages. According to the article “of two minds” by Matthew Houston in “Psychology Today” Vol. 41 issue 5, p13-13, “languages” learned by the age of 5 are represented differently in the brain than are later languages. When traveling to another country, the childs brain suppresses previously learned terms in order to learn new labels”. Wow, this is so vital to use visual cues in language learning.
The world is definitely full of languages. You could meet many more people, visit more places and read many more books with a second language. Your learning ability doubles. This would enhance lives to the fullest. An employer will see you as a bridge to new clients and customers if you know a second language. Professionals who know other languages can travel to other countries. Think about it, just knowing a second language can possibly take you around the world at someone else’s cost. All the people and places to visit and getting paid at the same time. Learning a second language might even save your life one day. You might be visiting another country one day and knowing a second language would be helpful so that your not taking advantage of.
I think learning a second language is almost critical. I hope it is offered to my children as they get older. To see them achieve what was not available to me is a dream come true. All the advantages there will be for them.