Bilingualism, Reaction Paper Example

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Reaction Paper

Meaning of bilingualism

Bilingualism has different meanings to different people. On one hand, it is the ability to speak or use more than one language. This is a positive view that considers the ability to speak two languages, regardless of however shallow one could know the second language. On the other hand, some linguistics may refer bilingualism as a native-like control of two languages. This definition employs a strict requirement in the proficiency of the two languages. This second definition and its understanding leaves many bilinguals unaccounted because the majority of them lie somewhere in the middle.

If surprisingly, there is an average person who is only in a position to express basic details like the greetings of a second language. These persons understands either very little, or nothing else the second language. The first definition (ability to speak two languages) regards this person as a bilingual. However, the second definition (native-like control of two languages) cannot regard this person as a bilingual. Now the argument cones in of the degree of bilingualism. This is the level at which one is proficient in both language. Some people argue out that a bilingual should sound like two monolinguals of each of the two languages of interest. Others argue that bilingual only needs some proficiency in either of the two languages of interest.

Bilingualism also applies in a case where one alternatively uses two languages, in that a person gives a complete sentence or rather an utterance in one language. This same person also then translates the sentence or utterance in the second language in a complete and meaningful manner. This is a point where fluency comes in, and such a bilingual not identified from a group of persons this native language is his/ her second language. These bilinguals can comfortably mingle and live with these native speakers of their second language.

Bilingualism is all about language competence. In actual sense, there is much more in bilingualism, the performance of bilinguals in relation to the cognitive and social-cultural factors. A bilingual cannot in any way function as two monolinguals. The degree of competence in the two languages differs from one individual to another, because of the different abilities of persons. One may have the ability to speak, but not the ability to write the second language. One may also have the ability to listen and understand but not in a position to speak. Another character may arise with the ability to read, yet understand nothing at all. In fact, the way in which each language used differs across different regions. With all these discussion, the definition them bilingualism can only be the measure by the degree of proficiency.

The bilinguals have further gone and divided themselves as balanced, dominant, passive, and semi-lingual. The balanced bilinguals are fully competent in both languages. The dominant represent those who dominate in one language, while the passive ones include those losing competence in one of the languages. Finally, the semi-lingual represents those who have limited proficiency in both languages.

All the same, if one is bilingual, then he /she should be able to speak, write, read, listen, and have the understanding of the two languages as their native. This person ought to be in a position to freely live, study, intermingle, and adopt the culture of the other monolinguals, whose first language is the bilingual’s second language. A bilingual then is a balanced bilingual. I am for the controversial understanding of bilingualism, as a native-like control of two languages.

Bilingualism – an advantage or a disadvantage to children

Bilingualism has disadvantages and advantages just like everything in this world. However, the advantages associated with bilingualism outweigh the disadvantages.

The principal disadvantage is that children learning two languages take more time to start the talking process and the development of an expressive language skill. Some bilingual children have developed Specific Language Impairment (SLI). This is a serious condition, since such children have language abilities below their age expectation. Language development delayed as they try to acquire the two languages. The acquisition sequence of grammatical morphemes and tense making comes later when it is late. In fact, bilingual SLI Children show a 4-year gap in their mastery of plurals and third person. English speakers SLI children, aged between five and eight show lower accuracy in tense making morphemes thus lowering their language production. Monolingual age peers score highly in tense and non-tense morphemes, while the bilingual children with SLI have lower scores.

On the other hand, researches reveal that bilingual children have a typical social-emotional development, unique hearing and speech abilities, and higher IQs. Bilingualism brings in a strong and cognitive advantage in learning while children are young and at their old age. It appears that bilingual people have language fluently throughout their life. They also have established problem solving skills, improved executive function, and better attention. Medically, bilingual people have a reduced risk and severity of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other brain deterioration disorders.

Bilingual children have a stronger working memory. This is because the amount of language stored in the brain pressures the brain area, the pre-frontal cortex, dealing with executive function working memory. This enables the children to develop a constant mental workout in this brain region, enabling them to strengthen the brain to work with increased efficiency. Bilingualism brings in the essential reorganization of the entire language system in the brain. For example, take a child who speaks English and French. While that child speaks or studies in English, part of the brain responsible for French still runs. The brain reorganizes itself to execute its functions efficiently.

If in another instance, we consider Aphasia, a condition of loosing language or parts of the language, maybe due to head trauma. Such happenings cause bilingual children to lose the grammatical ability in both languages. However, recovery is faster and even more complete for bilingual children under this condition compared to the monolingual ones.

With the detailed discussion on both the negative and positive views on bilingualism, it is true that every argument has weight. However, bilingual children will have an advantage of understanding their culture. They will have an improved self-esteem, a high essence of complex thinking, and a greater feeling of absorbance into the community. A bilingual child needs understanding and encouragement to expressing themselves in both languages. A teacher ought to ask the child questions and ask them to answer in both languages. In other words, help them discover and be proud of their bilingual gift. On the other hand, the parent should put into consideration is the approach and timing. A child well exposed to both languages early enough in life has an easier time picking up each language, and at the same time, obtain the native accent of the language. Therefore, it is evident that bilingualism is an advantage to children.

Language planning and its relevance to the Arabic context

Language planning is the effort employed to influence the acquisition of a language. Just like any other language, the Arab context needs language planning for better development and acquisition. Language acquisition divided into three categories i.e. status, corpus, and acquisition planning.

Status planning includes activities involving recognition of the government of the importance of the language of interest. The government then employs efforts that allocate the functioning of languages, while giving it some weight within the community. The planners of the state discuss the function of the language and its dominance. They then study it internally with respect to its religious status and its rituals.

Corpus planning involves the creation of new forms. It could be the reformation of the old language or acquisition of the new language. Upon absorption of the new language, the functioning and attitudes towards the language studied. Language planners then implement the change in resources, dictionaries, new vocabularies, and grammars.

Acquisition planning involves the teaching, learning, and acquisition of languages. Acquisition aims at increasing numbers of persons to speak the language. This influences the distribution and allocation of users of language. It creates and improves learning opportunities, maintenance, and to use varieties.

Learning of the Arabic language positively influenced with the language planning technique. In Jordan for example, language planning emphasizes on the need of having a well-defined language policy integrating the Arabic status in the psyches of its native speakers. This is regardless of the spread and wide usage of English as a foreign language. This clearly shows how language planning affects the Islamic influence for the Arabic language.

The status planning approach clearly employed in acquisition of the Arabic language. The Arabic language has a significant influence on the Islamic religion. Islam’s communicate in their religious activities and even prayers through the language. The Arabic language in itself has its forces since the world cannot know Islam without Arabic, again the world does not know the Quran without Arabic. There is a strong universally relationship between the Arabic language and Islam that is recognizable. In fact, Arabic is the language of Islam’s reveal to Mohammad, their prophet. The Quran celebrates the relationship of language planning and acquisition in the passages, where they say they have sent it down as an Arabic Quran.” In other words the Quran expressed in Arabic to advantage of those people who understand Arabic.

Corpus planning employed in the acquisition of the Arabic language. New reforms created in that the advent of Islam and the revelation of the Quran structured in the Arabic language. This has resulted in a healthy relationship between the Quran and Arabic, which is unique and expected to last long.

Acquisition planning then employed and every child introduced to the language at a tender age while any other language follows. The number of people to learn the language aimed at adding for as long as one resides in an Islamic religion.

This is a clear indication of how powerful language planning is in the acquisition of the, Arabic language which is particularly crucial in the Islamic religion.

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