Monolingual Vs Bilingual
Are two languages better than one?
Is it "better" to speak one language or two - or even several? Find out where you stand?
Who would win in a shouting match: bilingual kids or monolingual kids?
They'll both yell your ear off: their global numbers are about equal
In the US, 79% of children ages 5-17 only speak English at home (2009)
(That means 21% of US children spoke a different or additional language)
Bilingual children may have increased focus/attention compared to monolingual children - much to the delight of parents and teachers everywhere!
Do educators wish bilingual students would speak up or pipe down?
Depends on where they live!
In Belgium, Dutch monolingualism is strongly enforced in schools - conversing in other languages is actually formally reprimanded!
In 68% of studied EU countries, over 3 in 4 university students were learning 2+ languages
By 2014, the UK will require instruction in French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Latinm or Greeky by age 7
In 2009-2010, only 50.7% of US universities required foreign language study for an undergrad degre
Down from 67.5% in 1994-1995
Only 8.6% of total college enrollments include modern language course enrollments
Who has a bigger lexicon per language?
Single speakers have the early lead... but bilingualists may surprise you later!
Here's an area where monolingualists (usually) have the advantage:
- Wider vocabulary - and faster accumulation of vocabulary in all languages
- Increased word retrieval rate
- Better letter fluency (ability to provide words based on a letter cue)
"Code switching," or mixing words from multiple languages in speech, may delay bilingual children's rate of vocabulary accquisition
- However, they can adapt to different strategies and learn multiple rules at once better than monolingual children - and can easily catch up on vocabulary latter
It might make you feel pretty darn smart, but can knowing multiple languages really improve your health?
Aside the aforementioned vocabulary advantage, there are no known/acknowledged cognitive or health benefits to monolingualism.
Bilinguals are often found to be:
Better complex problem-solvers
Bilingual immigrants are healthier both mentally and physically than those who only speak their native language
Bilingualism may slow aging of the brain: One study showed dementia occurred about 4 years earlier in monolinguals than bilinguals
Most countries just speak their native language, right? And they only have one of those, right?
Wrong! Countries with just one language are way in the minority.
Only a handful of countries have just 1 indigenous language (as of 2009):
Vatican State (& no immigrant languages)
North Korea (& no immigrant languages)
Saint Helena (& no immigrant languages)
Falkland Islands (& no immigrant languages)
British Indian Ocean Territory (& no immigrant languages)
Only 18% of Americans cann speak a language other than English
Compared to 53% of Europeans
95% of Luxembourgers can speak two or more languages
99% of Latvians can!
More linguistically diverse country: Papua New Guinea
830 indigenous languages (& no immigrant languages)
Is it better to converse with international clients yourself, or use a translator?
Actually, it might be best to just be a translator!
The vocabulary advantages of monolingualism could shine in the workplace, but...
~30% of US economy involves international trade
Bilingualism results in about a 2.8% increase in hourly wages
2010=2020: Translation/interpreter jobs are projected to increase 42% - significantly faster than the average occupation
Bilinguals lead the way in international business, creativity, problem-solving, and in some cases, even health.
But monolinguals do have that larger vocabulary and faster retrieval, which can give them the advantage in a time crunch.