A Plea for Bilingualism

English – just as any other language – is one of those rare goods that belong to everybody and make you immensely rich at the same time. The English language is not the sole prerogative of native speakers and is as such not finite; it is limited to no specific group of people, it is there for everybody to enjoy and make the best of its use.

To my most pleasant surprise as a language trainer, my students show an absolutely amazing English level even before we start classes. And this has to be addressed as such: in a country where English is not loved nor liked, where the subject has been subject to forced learning, despised grammar lessons and irregular verbs learning by heart, to actually meet people who speak English fluently, who make an excellent use of English and who know expressions and idioms I could only think of when teaching a specific class – well, that just leaves you in awe of them.

So imagine my bafflement when most of my students decidedly state, when asked, that they are definitely not bilinguals. To them – especially and specifically to those who have an admirable level of English – bilingualism has come to mean a perfect proficiency in both mother tongue and a second language.

But that’s just wrong. Bilingualism means speaking and understanding two languages, receiving and producing messages in two different languages. There is no limitation,

Continue reading “A Plea for Bilingualism”
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