People have very different opinions on what bilingualism really is. For some it means speaking two languages fluently and with little to no effort rather strongly consider a person bilingual, if it has perfect pronounciation in both languages and makes very few grammatical errors while talking.
The truth is that, even with a bad accent and making some mistake, being able to speak in two or more languages rather than one has practical benefits in an increasingly globalised world.
Multilingualism has been shown to have many psychological and social advantages that can go something simply as
- watching movies with no subtitles
- to having less problems in traveling and
- even getting a job or business opportunities specially in tourist areas.
Types of Bilingualism
It is considered to be two types of Bilingualism
1. Compound Bilingualism
Compound Bilingualism, also called addictive Bilingualism happens for example when a child is raised by bilingual parents and both languages are used in home, the child grows when both languages are used simultaneously in the same environment.
With this type of Bilingualism, the person does not see the two languages as separate it is common to hear such people speaking different languages in the same sentence or using a word of a different language from the one they’re talking to better express themselves.
2. Coordinate Bilingualism
This is the second type of Bilingualism also know as Subtractive Bilingualism. In this type, the person perceive two languages as separate because he learns them separately and in different environments in context.
I am an example of coordinate Bilingualism, most of the time i talk Hindi when I’m in my college environment or to people who talks only that language, I use the language specifically for those context but to my family members i usually talk in Bengali which is my native language, the language related to my home environment. I see these two language as separate since I learned and used them in completely different environments.
Officially Monolingual Countries
Only a few countries in the world including the U.S, England, and Australia are officially Monolingual but even in these countries only a considerable percent of people who speaking and understand more than one language.
Researchers suggest that bilingualism can slow the advance of age-related mental issues such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s by up to 4 years.
Also in bilingual adult, brain tissue called grey matter is denser compared with Monolingual adults.
Although speaking more than one language does not necessarily make you more intelligent person, it helps stimulates and increase brain connections. Learning a new language is like an excercise to the brain that will improve your Cognitive skills and even if you grew up in a Monolingual environment, it is never too late to start learning a different language.