Raising Multilingual Children.

Essay by marzimarzoUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2006

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With globalization and the widespread acknowledgment and celebration of cultural diversity, multilingualism has become common despite all skepticism and difficulties facing it. Nowadays, it has become rare to find a person that cannot understand if not converse in more than one language. Multilingualism is no longer simply a way to reflect a person's identity but it is more of a means of communication in the big village the globe has become. Notwithstanding all the opposition facing it and all the disadvantages it is known to have, multilingualism has become the rule rather than the exception in most countries.

Despite its prevalence, different references and different people have different views to multilingualism. According to Encarta English Dictionary, being multilingual is either "being able to speak more than two languages fluently" or being "written in or expressed in more than two languages" ("multilingual"). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, on the other hand, considers it as "using or able to use several languages" ("multilingual") whereas Wikipedia defines it as having "communicative skills in more than one language" ("multilingual").

Researchers who study bilingual and multilingual communities worldwide view multilingualism as "a common human condition that makes it possible for an individual to function, at some level, in more than one language" (Multilingualism in the World); the key term being 'more than one'. To minimize confusion, I will consider multilingualism as being proficient in more than one language.

Although a person can acquire a new language at any age, it has been proved that a child is more likely to grasp a new language and pronunciation more easily than a person of any other age. This is why multilingualism is usually initiated during childhood. However, although this might make it easier for the child it definitely doesn't simplify parents' task. They face many difficulties and slumps...