Bilingualism

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Imagine a mouse that can roar. Seen one? This entails bilingualism. I do believe that a man who can speak another language has more opportunities coming.

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Bilingualism

  1. 1. Critique Paper: BilingualismIntroduction: I Can RoarJerry does not hesitate to open the door upon hearing a knock from somebody he does nothave a chance to see. Taken by surprise, he sees a basket with a young (mouse) in it with themessage, “Please feed him lots of milk”. Without any indecision, Jerry takes the responsibilityfor the poor young. On the other hand, Tom always looks for ways on how he could catch Jerry.Eat him or shoo him off is one mania he has. A time comes when Jerry has to feed the youngmilk, they have to sneak and get some milk from Tom. No matter what happens, Jerry never letsTom lay a finger on the young. Unfortunately, Tom is so skilled that he is able to trap Jerry in abottle so he could run after the young. Preoccupied with hate, Tom catches the young andpunishes him. When Jerry hears the cry, the bottle gets broken and off he goes to look for theyoung. Losing control of his temper, he ROARS like a LION. With all his might, he gives Tomthe apt punishment by battering, beating, thrashing, pummeling, hitting, banging, hammeringand pounding. With what happens, Tom follows every order Jerry has. He is even the onefeeding the young milk. Plus, he cannot take a rest since Jerry is on his side watching everyaction he makes. Tom, the cat, fears Jerry, the mouse, who ROARS like a LION.Unquestionably, almost everybody grows up with the until-now hit no-dialogue-cartoon-showTom and Jerry. The Tom and Jerry show has been in the limelight for a long time. With the ideaof watching such program on Cartoon Network, one has to decipher what every action Tom andJerry make since they do not really talk, which is basically normal among animals. They utterwords rarely. Thus, it is up to the viewers to dig up whatever Tom and Jerry would like to getacross. In relation to one of the countless episodes of the show, bilinguals are figurativelyconnected with Jerry who roars like a lion. Foreigners would listen to and get interested in aspeaker more if he can speak their (the foreigners‟) language. Perhaps, it is the only conduitthat links them [to each other]. Can Jerry continue to roar or speak like a lion? To take this viewis endless for literally Jerry is a mouse. Going out of the story, can Jerry, allegorically comparedto a human, put into his system the accent of lions? Will it be promising for Jerry to make use ofcode-switching or code-mixing? Is there a possibility for him to lose his first language?If Jerry were a human, he would be considered a bilingual. From the very thoughts that shapesuch word, bi- means two and –lingual means language, simply, a bilingual is a speaker whocan speak two languages. Not limited to the prefix bi-, bilinguals and multilinguals are the oneswho can speak two or more languages. Believed that there is separate or common store oflexicons, bilinguals can make use of the executive function of the brain by training themselves interms of what language he has to focus on. One can pull out a pint of curiosity askingthemselves how.Upon going over some researches on bilingualism, the Internet has taken this critique paper to anetwork of quotes which made one of the episodes of Tom and Jerry remembered. The episodehas led this paper to one extract it is very similar to. Failed to look for the book (by Paradis,1983) where such quote has been taken, it would still be worthwhile sharing what imprints itleaves any readers in attendance on the internet.“A mouse saved her young from a ferocious cat by barking bow wow. After the cat ran away,the mouse said to her offspring See, children, it pays to know a second language.” EfstathiadisSome Issues on BilingualismThere are many vital, big issues regarding bilingualism. That is why it is such a lost not to beable to present all of them here. Among those countless issues, three are chosen to beenlarged:Is it a need for non-native speakers to learn and/or use the accent of those native ones?Nowadays, a lot are falling crazily in love with the English language not only because it isconsidered the international language but also it is a miracle that people have seen its aid notonly in communication but also in considering that English is a symbol of education,
  2. 2. international mobility and modernity, status marker and ethnic identity. Truly, it has changed theway speakers look at how the world transforms. Before, almost everybody was so into sayingthey did not want to lose their L1 but now everybody thinks and/or knows it is an edge to be aman of two languages. This fact leads to the uproar about what accent has to be used.Many say American accent is superior to others while others say it is not. Instead, it is British.Due to this, many non-native English speakers are so blind that they push themselves too muchin the learning and/or using the American or British accent. What these learners fail to realizeand/or recognize is it is enough to be globally understandable. Technically, this is calledtransatlantic accent or more popularly known as neutral accent. It means a language is spokenwithout obvious regional influences so that it can be understood universally. According tostudies, only simultaneous bilinguals are able to fully adopt into the system the accent of thesecond language they have acquired. It follows that it is so challenging on the part of sequentialbilinguals that no matter what they do, not a full native accent is achieved. This is worse on thepart of late bilinguals who learned their second language at a later time. Taking Sisyphusprinciple, it is pointless for any sequential and late bilinguals to get the accent Americans orBritish have. It figures why Filipinos and Koreans, respectively, and other non-native Englishspeakers could not get full access to the native English speakers‟ accent. Therefore, it is not aneed to learn the accent of L2. What is imperative is every speaker, no matter what languagethey speak, has to speak as clearly as possible. Upon one forcing doing such, he will end upincorporating fake accent, heavy accent, imitating an accent and MTI (mother tongue influence).What works in conversation? Code-switching? Code-mixing?There are speakers who question the switching of languages done by bilinguals. Is it a matter ofa disorder? Probably, the answer to such question, rhetorical though, is a big yes. Many believethat a bilingual‟s brain undergoes rigorous language processes. Does a bilingual use conceptualmediation? Or perchance, word association? Who knows? The bigger perspective is that whena bilingual speaks his L2, does the interference (or maybe, intraference, if it existed) of the firstlanguage make him a skilled speaker? Switching from one language to another is termed as acrutch syndrome. A bilingual who is stumped in one language can keep on speaking bydepending on a translated complete utterance, or word or phrase as a stand-by. It is divided intotwo: code-switching and code-mixing, in that order. Code-switching can be usedinterchangeably with any other terms for language blending. In a more nuanced definition wherecode-switching involves inserting whole utterances – inter-sententially – in a second, non-dominant language during conversation, while the more specific term of code-mixing (orborrowing) involves the blending of non-dominant language words or phrases within anutterance – intra-sententially. Using this definition, and presuming that English is the dominantlanguage in the following utterances „Is this what we are having for dinner today? Sira nabatuktok mo? [Are you crazy?] It‟s not Saturday and I don‟t eat tuyo [smoked/dried fish] except onSaturdays. It just doesn‟t seem right!‟ The first italicized utterance is a code-switch, while thesecond italicized word in the next utterance is a code-mix. Some say that this crutch syndromeis a model of incompetence. If I were to be asked, I would put on the platter the answer goingagainst the preceding sentence. Is it not a skill, through code-switching or code-mixing, tobridge gaps in the conversation which is about to break? In the first place, we care about whatone really wants to say, that is, the message. As long as the listener can put everything inclinedto what is really meant, and provided that he is capable of uttering the code-switched or code-mixed language, conversation is saved and carried on. Thus, such crutch syndrome canundeniably do away with linguistic limitations within the conversation. As to what has to bechosen, the speaker has to consider the situation whether it is appropriate to code-switch.Conceivably, do code-mixing if it is the one apposite.Can first language (L1) be lost upon learning second language (L2)?To lose L1, replaced by L2, is like losing one‟s identity. There have been studies conducted todig up unfathomable concepts pertaining to bilingualism. One is done by a German linguist. Heis Leopold. He had this study for ten years from 1939 to 1949. Leopold was a German linguist,whose daughter Hildegard had an American mother and lived from an early age in the USA.German was used in the home at first, but this soon gave way to English, the environmentlanguage. The study showed that young children can quickly (within 6 months) forget the oldlanguage and pick up a new one, if they move to another country. Initially the two languages are
  3. 3. mixed up, but differentiation quickly emerges. It can be clearly seen that language dominancehas a powerful influence transferred to any who stays in its territory. It is not to be blamed sincechildren do not have any choice but shape their language to the one used/uttered in the societythey belong to. To make things worse, a non-native English speaking family moving to Americadoes not have any pick but, also, adopt the English language. In the end, children pick up theEnglish language leaving or even forgetting their L1. Needless to say, there are many factors towhy L1 is forgotten. Is it really lost? Does it stay in one‟s system, even if, not the domain of use?I do believe Noam Chomsky. Chomsky said that even if a person can no longer use a language,he/she can relearn the language much faster than someone who has never known thatlanguage. According to him, “There’s got to be a residue of the language somewhere …. Youcan’t really erase the system”. No, not totally. Rarely, in our family, Pangasinan is uttered. I wasborn in Pangasinan but raised here (Baguio City). With a little pint of exposure, I could somehowunderstand Pangasinan. It is not lost totally.ConclusionThere are many existing myths about bilingualism. It only means young generations owe theirknowledge about bilingualism to those who have given and/or presented researchesand/studies just to magnify the world of one person with a tongue capable of speaking two ormore languages. With the researches and/studies, everybody is not in the hot seat to say that itis not a need to adopt the accent of L2, that is, transatlantic or neutral accent is preferred; that itis the decision of the speaker whether he is going to incorporate code-switching or code-mixing;and that upon the learning of L2, those who live in an environment with English as a dominantlanguage, do not totally lose L1.ReferencesBooks:de Klerk, V. (2006). Corpus Linguistics and World Englishes: An Analysis of Xhosa English.Great Britain: Biddles Ltd.Harley, T. A. (2008). The Psychology of Language: From Data to Theory. UK: Ashford ColourPress Ltd.Online:Grosjean, F. (2012). Can a First Language be Totally Forgotten? Retrieved, July 17, 2012, fromhttp://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-bilingual/201207/can-first-language-be-totally-forgottenPDF:An Integrated Neurolinguistic Theory of Bilingualism: 1976-2000 (Michel Paradis, 2009)Bilingual/Immersion Education: Indicators Of Good Practice - Final Report to the Ministry ofEducation (S. May, R. Hill, S. Tiakiwai, 2004)Bilingual Language Processing (Timothy Desmet* and Wouter Duyck, 2007)The Right of the Deaf Child to Grow up Bilingual (François Grosjean)The Bilingual Family Newsletter (1990).From: International Journal of Bilingualism Effects of Input on the Early Grammatical Development of Bilingual Children (ElmaBlom, 2010) Interpreter-mediated Interaction as Bilingual Speech: Bridging Macro- and Micro-sociolinguistics in Codeswitching Research (Philipp Sebastian Angermeyer, 2010)
  4. 4. Is it Language Relearning or Language Reacquisition? Hints from a Young Boy‟s Code-switching During His Journey Back to His Native Language (Tove I. Dahl, Curt Rice, MarieSteffensen, Ludmila Amundsen, 2010) What is the Impact of Age of Second Language Acquisition on the Production ofConsonants and Vowels Among Childhood Bilinguals? (Andrea A. N. MacLeod, Carol Stoel-Gammon, 2010)

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