Multilingualism: The Advantages and Disadvantages
of the Acquisition of Multiple Languages
All humans, save for a few in extenuating circumstances, have the ability to learn and use language at an expert level. In some cases, these individuals learn more than one language at a time or they learn to speak a different language later in life. In the past few decades, language acquisition and multilingualism have received an increasing amount of interest among linguists and psychologists. While early research on bilingualism suggests that attaining more than one language at a time could be deleterious to learning, more recent studies have shown that being bilingual could be, in fact, beneficial in several ways (Adescope, 2010) including cross-cultural awareness, identity retention, and even in several factors of cognitive development. The advantages and disadvantages of the effet of bilingualism in cognitive development has been of particular interest within inhabitants of the United States. The United States is a cultural melting pot that arguable forces children to learn English. Because English is the socially acceptable language, multicultural families living in America do not necessarily have a choice in raising a multilingual child, for one language might be spoken at home, while a completely different language is spoken at school and within the community. Parents, especially those with different native languages than the socially dominant one, make the decision of raising their child either mono- or multilingually. What exactly does it take for a child to learn language, and beyond that, what does it take to become multilingual? When exploring and weighing the effects of multilingualism in cognitive development, there seem to be a clear advantages over the disadvantages.
Although the definition varies from person to person, in short, multilingualism could be described as the ability to use two or more languages...