Originally published by Cafe Media by Christina Rodriguez.
I have so much beef with this statement, it’s not even funny. First of all, I can speak any language I want BECAUSE I am in this country. Secondly, within the Americas there are thousands of different languages. THOUSANDS. And English does not dominate, although people think it does. Isn’t that something?
Anyway, teaching me Spanish was probably the best thing my father could have done. I say my father for a specific reason; they both say that if it wasn’t for him talking to me in Spanish and making it pertinent that I speak, understand and write the language, I probably wouldn’t have learned it at all. My mother is fluently bilingual in both languages (is that even right?) and finds it more comfortable to speak in English than in Spanish—she’s acculturated if you will.
But did you know that when you’re bilingual, you’re smarter? You know twice as many things and are even more inclined to understand concepts from multiple angles.
“The bilingual brain develops more densely, giving it an advantage in various abilities and skills, according to new research.” This is from Web MD in 2004. The research was done in London by Andrea Mechelli along with some other experts from the Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, who looked at brain densities of bilingual people.
Bilingual people also have more gray matter in the brain, something stimulated by learning a second language. The earlier you learn the language, the more gray matter in the brain.
“Studies have shown an association with gray matter density (or volume and intellect), especially in areas of language, memory, and attention.”
In 2002, the U.S. Census found that there were more than 7.5 million bilingual children. Can you just imagine what that number is now?
Although being bilingual is not a choice sometimes, but a matter of surviving and surviving well, it’s good for people! There are so many non-native bilingual people who are trying to get their kids into programs and learning how to speak multiple languages at once. You know why? Because they’ve done the research! They know that down the line, their kids are going to have better test scores, have better cognitive skills and be able to communicate in various ways and they LIKE IT!
It’s really sad to think that people who are monolingual want to cut bilingual education in schools because they’re a bunch of xenophobes. Instead of opening their own minds to learn a bit more and find the benefits of their children being cultured, they want to cut it out. Well, that’s just stupid and all those people are jealous and uneducated.
There has been so much research pertaining to the importance of being bilingual which gets misinterpreted by parents and teachers alike. It’s ridiculous.
I made the cutoff. I wasn’t put into bilingual schooling but I grew up bilingual. I chose to educate myself and I benefitted so much from it.
If you are bilingual and you rock at it, good for you! Keep it going in your children and beyond. You’ll be doing them more good than you even realize.
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