Languages and Multilingualism

Languages and Multilingualism

From a wide standpoint, every person can virtually communicate using more than one language, either actively or passively. Usually a more narrow or appropriate definition of where bilingualism or multilingualism lies and what it entails might be the ability to use a language at a similar level as those who speak it on a regular basis, ie., native speakers.

Thank You pinA bilingual or multilingual individual, even polyglotism, is said to have completely mastered two or more languages and can consider these languages as their own, to a certain extent, even if one of the languages might be the individual’s first language (referred to as L1). Often, the term to classify for a person who grew up exposed to more than one language at home or acquired additional languages in school, to the point where they have attained a high level is “bilingual”.

A person who can communicate in several languages usually is referred to as multilingual, although this term does NOT imply the mastering of those languages or a very high level attained.

Bilingual people, often have acquired or assimilated more than one language in early childhood, so-called L1 (that is, one’s mother tongue). The truth is, that when it comes to the field of linguistics, much is still unknown, given that these processes are associated with emotional as well as inner mental workings of the brain. As it is widely known, the myriads of the brain have yet to be completely understood and properly researched by neurologists. We are still very far behind as regards the knowledge and study of the brain, simply because we do not yet have the advanced technology to do so.

L2, on the other hand, is a language that has been acquired by the individual later in life, for example, either by exposure through societal factors (like media) or by the study of a foreign language.