Pros and Cons of Multilingualism

Natalie Lark

In chapter 10, Van Herk talks about multilingualism and multilinguals who grow up speaking different languages subconsciously without thinking about their language proficiency.

First, I would like to define multilingualism, and then to talk about its advantages and disadvantages. What is multilingualism? Who is considered mulilingual? And what are the benefits of being multilingual? To answer all these questions, I’d like to go over the definition of the word multilingualism first, and then to move on to multilinguals, speakers of two or more languages and their language skills.
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Growing up attempting to speak multiple languages was not an easy task and there were many struggles that came with it. I always felt as though, I was not competent enough in any of the languages I was speaking, whether it was my mother tongue or a new language. This lead me to being a very shy and introverted child, I was to afraid to speak any language for fear of being inadequate. Ironically years later, I learned that many others feel this way and that there is actually a name to it, Language Anxiety. I realize now it was silly of me to think I would be the only person feeling these struggles, but having someone put a name to it, was a moment of clarity.

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Monolingualism or multilingualism?

                                                                                                                            By Wei Yang

Recently I read a few articles about different foreign language teaching pedagogy, there are two main streams, monolingualism and multilingualism. Monolingualism was really popular in the past 100 years, while received plenty of criticism recently.There are three inter-related assumptions regarding best practice in second/foreign language teaching. These assumptions are that: (a)the target language (TL) should be used exclusively for instructional purposes without recourse to students’ first language(L1); (b) translation between L1 and TL has no place in the language classroom; and (c) within immersion and bilingual programs, the two languages should be kept rigidly separate (Cummins, 2007).

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Growing up with a mother who can readily speak three languages, is not easy, especially when you struggled learning just one. Learning languages was never easy for me. In order to learn English I lost my mother tongue, because I fully immersed myself in the English language. Then trying to learn French on top of that never worked. Over the years, I’ve come to retain bits and pieces of my mother tongue and learn some French. However, it has been a struggle the whole time.

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Dealing with multilingualism

Hsinhua’s 3rd Post.

I spent a Thursday night reading the Multilingualism chapter. While I was reading, many thoughts emerged, so I decided to turn on my computer and finish my 3rd post. In this post, I will talk about my life in this multilingual society as a mom and as an immigrant.

Three languages are spoken in my home. My three-and-a-half year old son barely speaks Mandarin and is only able to speak 6-7 French sentences. When he counts, he switches between the languages he knows–for example: “un, deux, toi,四, 五, six, seven, huit, neuf, ten”. But my son is not the only one in my home with a language problem; I, an immigrant, full-time mom, face linguistic issues too.

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A Discussion on Identity and English as a Global Language

Posted by Cheryl Lingjuan Yan (Post #2)

The word “Multilingualism” refers to the use of two or more languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers (Tucker, 1999). When I first came to Canada, I found people here in Montreal to be amazing. Most people are at least bilingual and almost everyone can speak three or four languages. People all come from different background, or, to be more specific, have different identities, for instance, Canadian, French, half-Spanish, full-Korean, etc. The reason why Montrealers can speak so many languages derives from the city’s history, and it also may partially be because of its colonial culture. Quebec was founded and colonized by French settlers for a long time. Therefore, French culture has a strong influence on Quebec. In addition, Canada is one of the members of the British Commonwealth. Perhaps these are the reasons people in Montreal are at least bilingual in English and French.

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Is Montreal Really Embracing Immigrants and Their Cultures?


Last week, we talked about language, space and the influence of globalization on languages. And we had discussions and activities in terms of dealing with the immigrant children depressed by French learning in Montreal and their culture loss. I can’t help asking myself this question: Is Montreal really embracing immigrants and their cultures?

When I first came to Montreal last August, I was surprised by its multilingual environments. I can hear people speaking various languages in the street: French, English, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and others. People of different complexions greet each other at schools and workplaces. I thought that this city is embracing immigrants and welcoming people from all over the world. However, after a year, I felt that I am uncovering its veil gradually and there is a known secret, in which we are all a part of that: Montreal is not as friendly as it’s tagged.

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