As Dr. Suhr-Sytsma mentioned in class when we started our discussion on Canagarajah's that there is a beneficial difference between learning a language for an hour a day and being completely submerged into the language but also its culture. My teacher, Mr. V, during senior year in high school would always say that learning multiple languages can not only expand your vocabulary but also expand your capacity to learn new materials. I used to think he said this just to motivate us to engage in class discussions until we had to write a paper about how acquiring another language can be beneficial in our life. I came across an NPR article by Barbara J. King on the idea f how learning different languages can help with dementia (King,2013). King gives us a summary of how 648 patients who suffered from Alzheimer, frontotemporal, and vascular dementia were able to delay the onset of these diseases (King,2013). Of the 648 patients, 391 were able to speak a different language but after reading Young’s and Cangarajah’s essay I view this article in a different way. I would like to first draw to you that through King’s writing he uses words such as, monolingual and bilingual which Canagarajah implies that these terms separate languages and give them limitations (Canagarajah,8). King also states that his “almost-monolingual brain is jealous,” however what King does not realize that his language, English, includes a mixture of words from other languages which in turn gives him “translingual competence,” (Canagarajah, 8). King describes how India, the country where the research took place, is a country filled with linguistic diversity because they are exposed to at least three different languages because they are simply surrounded by multiple languages (King,2013). This is what Dr. Suhr-Sytsma meant about learning a language and being submerged into it. Since the people who reside in India are surrounded by many diverse cultures they must acquire different languages in order to effectively communicate to others. From this article we can see that having the ability to FULLY understand other languages can also be mentally beneficial for many individuals. King’s idea that speaking multiple languages “allows some degree of flexibility in personal expression” (King, 2013) correlates with Young’s concept of Black English as a form of expression in terms of writing (Young, 70). Multilingualism, in my opinion is a snowball. At first it acquired little momentum in the beginning, but as I have grown up the idea its positive impact has snowballed into its need in our education today. The idea that it can also be medically beneficial could take its necessity to another level.
Citation: King, B. J. (2013). New Study Shows Brain Benefits of Bilingualism. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/11/14/244813470/new-study-shows-brain-benefits-of-bilingualism