Should we all strive to be bilingual?

Posted on September 25, 2020

That is the question we are discussing in Ideas on the Go this month!  Have some thoughts on this? Talk to Julie.  Here are some of her initial reflections.

How many languages do you speak?

For most Americans, the answer is one. When I lived In Namibia, though, this was one of the first questions I was asked by every young child I taught.  The idea that there were people in the world who only spoke one language astounded them. The average Namibian speaks at least three languages. There are over 30 languages spoken in the country. To give you some perspective on this, Namibia is only slightly larger than the state of Texas.

How many languages have you studied?

I would guess that for most Americans the answer is more than one.  For me, it is five formally.  But again, how many do I speak? Just English.  I had wonderful opportunities to become fluent in other languages growing up in Puerto Rico and living abroad in Africa for over four years.  But I didn’t put the effort in at the time to make sure that something stuck.  I regret that now.

What are the benefits of being bilingual?

Many!  If you are not convinced, click here to read our current Ideas on the Go article.  I know that it is never too late to learn a new language.  I will keep it on my bucket list, for sure!

Have thoughts you want to share about learning or speaking multiple languages?  Come see me in the library.  I would love to discuss this more!