photo credits: https://www.euractiv.com/section/languages-culture/opinion/the-european-language-cloud-or-how-to-enable-a-multilingual-europe/
In our globalized world, nowadays, language diversity is a well-spread phenomenon which can be found in many societies. In one society or country, more than one language can exist officially or non-officially by making it multilingual. Apparently, there rise questions “what is the relationship between societies and multilingualism? What are the main reasons for the emergence of multilingualism in the society? What challenges and benefits multilingualism can bring to the society? In addition, our Kazakhstani society also is not out of the box since in our society there are more than one hundred nationalities and ethnic groups with their languages. Thus, in this blog, I will try to analyze the role of multilingualism in the society; its benefits and challenges as well as the reasons for its emergence.
Multilingualism is an umbrella term since different authors define it variously. However, the main definition, in relation to the society, can be the existence and the usage of more than two languages in the society.
In terms of the reasons for the spread of multilingualism, we can highlight globalization, historical and political changes, geography, and immigration. The well-spread reason is immigration of people from one place to another since they bring with themselves their languages which enrich the language diversity in the society. Another reason for the development of multilingualism in the society can be the educational purposes. Education can be one of the reasons for the introduction of foreign languages which also contribute to the language diversity in the society. One clear example is the English language which is becoming the language of science and international communication. In our country, also the introduction of trilingual education is directly connected with the purpose to get access to the international science and education world through English.
Regarding the benefits and challenges of multilingualism, firstly, it will be beneficial for enhancing language repertoires of the members of the society. Moreover, through languages, people can get acquainted with the cultures of others which led to the social cohesion and mutual respect of each other. One more benefit is connected with economic conditions since the knowledge of several languages gives an opportunity to be competitive and in-demand in the labor market. However, there are also some drawbacks of multilingualism such as the dominance of one language over another or the legal status of the languages.
Overall, multilingualism is the emerging phenomenon in our reality. The language diversity in the societies is constructed by several reasons starting from globalization and ending up with immigration. Moreover, it can be beneficial for one society, while, others treat it as a problem. However, I assume that its benefits overweight drawbacks. So, what do you think? Is the multilingualism an asset to the society or does it cause more problems?