Multilingualismis a commonly increasing phenomenon in contemporary society which has been studiedfrom various perspectives in the last couple of decades. Multilingualism aroundthe world today is an ever growing significant social issue because most of allliving languages are threatened in their continued existence due to elements ofthe globalising world. The demise of a language is a substantial loss and indicatesa damage to the inherited knowledge of many generations. Cultural aspects are conveyedthrough languages which then mirror the history of the people who have hadassociations with them. Language and etymology is one of the most influentialweapons of colonial authority for the reason that being multilingual is often assumedas providing an advantage and creating opportunities for personal andprofessional growth as well as better job prospects.
However, in Australia, ithas been exposed that being multilingual comprise of both benefits and hindrances.In the past two decades, the central theory in Australian public policy and publicdebate is Australia’s engagement with Asia in particular. This ismainly due to the rapid increase trade of goods and minerals, strategicalliances and prospective future developments. Children in contemporary societyare encouraged to learn an Asian language to better prepare them and Australiaas a nation for a sustainable economic future.
For an individual to be categorisedas Asia literate, they must possess the skills and extensive knowledge of Asianhistory, art and culture, languages and geographical significance. Languagehas been a crucial subject in all Australian policies towards settlement ofmigrants and their families. Assimilation policy and social attitudes requiredthem to learn English quickly and to stop using their initial language,especially in the public province. Formany, speaking another language apart from English allows individuals to stayconnected to their families.
In a hypothetical situation, if an individualcannot communicate with close family members simply due being monolingual,relationships and future interaction can cease to exist. Being able tocommunicate with people in their native language enables individuals to build arapport with the other person as the conversation will likely be more in depththan just basic conversational topics such as the weather. Learning another languageopens the doors to new opportunities and knowledge of other cultures which canhelp in future career aspirations or culture awareness.
Being able to speak andunderstand another language can assist to develop meaningful relations withforeign groups and individuals. Learning a new language can help you seethe world from new perspectives; this makes us more aware of different peoplewith different cultures or different backgrounds. Learning a new languagebridges the gaps between different social groups. Unfortunately, not knowing alanguage can become a barrier between people and put an end to the cooperationand friendship. Bilingualism and multilingualism have many benefits not only toan individual but to the country’s economy. People who speak more than onelanguage can boost their country’s economic competitiveness overseas. There are many words and phrases which theEnglish language does not have. Sometimes the English language adopts words andsayings from other languages, but often, we must explain our way around a precisesensation or emotion that does not have its own word.
Translators and interpreters play a vital characterin social inclusion because they enable communication with those members of ourcommunity who are not proficient in English. It is noted that people who speakmore than one language may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.It has been proposed that the cognitive requirements associated with multilingualprocessing provide a form of mental exercise that, through increases incognitive reserve and brain fitness, may delay the symptoms of cognitivefailure associated with Alzheimer?s disease and other forms of dementia.