THE IMPORTANCE OF BILINGUALISM(EVEN IF YOU’RE IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY)
Filed Under: Music & Film, Opinion | Posted: 05/24/2008 at 7:34PM
Comments | Region: Australia
It’s an obvious fact that language plays an important role in our daily lives.Without knowledge about the very common words & sentences of the country we lived in since birth,no one will ever listen to or understand us.Everything had its equivalent in either written or spoken words & different countries,with the diversities in the dialects they speak from different regions,had found more ways of relating to their own world using languages that may or may not be understood even by their nearest neighboring town or nation.
Take the Philippines,China & Papua New Guinea.These are countries that was supposed to speak the same languages but due to centuries of interacting & living aside other people from different countries & cultural backgrounds there are now more than 1 or 10 dialects in use on different islands & cities in their countries.In the Philippines alone,a small country consisting of 7,100 islands & with a population close to 85 million people,they had about 50 or so dialects in use(Visayans had variations of their own dialect depending on where you are).As far as i know,Papua New Guinea had about 800+!And in China,though the most familiar dialects are Mandarin & Fookien,there are also other dialects in use specially among the peasants living in the countrysides.Even among the indigenous Australians different dialects were also spoken.I still had to hear of any country who speaks the same language no matter where you go.(aside from the English-speaking ones of course though there’s also a sort of a problem in ths aspect as the American English differs from its British & Australian counterparts).Any enlightenment about this dear readers?
So in this writer’s opinion,i think one of the best ways of making almost everybody understand their own neighbors who speak differently from them is introducing some basic local languange program in the school system,& i mean for ALL levels,starting of course from the primary level but not until the kids were at,say Year 2 or 3.That is because since the diversity in the local dialects was so wide now & that not everyone can speak in a different tongue in their own country of birth aside from the native language they had accustomed themselves for,it may be time now to slowly integrate it in the school curriculum.For the adult learners who still want to learn more about the different dialects present in their countries or cities the government or the local community can at least arrange for some lectures in their respective shires or community centres.If possible,it can either be funded by the local government or can be jump started by volunteers depending on the desire of the individual members of & even the entire community or locality or municipality.
And hopefully too there will be enough interest in learning the local dialects that publishers will soon have enough drive plus of course funds to print dictionaries or self help books about this subject cause some eager learners can do self-study whilst reading at the comforts of their own home.Or for some lingusitic organizations to come up with a website about this matter & link up with groups with similar interest from around the globe & share knowledge & materials in the Net specially for people who moved to another country& were struggling to learn the local language there as well as try to keep their own.
It’s a lonely thing to move even from one side of your own country to another one just about 50-500 kms away & be lost when people around you started talking.Maybe someday this communication gap can be solved soon,or even sooner than expected.For we never know what lies ahead once people start to understand each other whilst keeping their native tongue.