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Multilingualism

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Multilingual sign outside the mayor's office in Novi Sad, Serbia, written in the four official languages of the city: Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, and Pannonian Rusyn.
Multilingual sign outside the mayor's office in Novi Sad, Serbia, written in the four official languages of the city: Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, and Pannonian Rusyn.
A stenciled danger sign in Singapore written in English, Chinese, Tamil, and Malay (the four official languages of Singapore).
A stenciled danger sign in Singapore written in English, Chinese, Tamil, and Malay (the four official languages of Singapore).
Frontage of the Constitutional Court of South Africa written in South Africa's 11 official languages.
Frontage of the Constitutional Court of South Africa written in South Africa's 11 official languages.

Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a group of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population.[1][2] More than half of all Europeans claim to speak at least one language other than their mother tongue;[3] but many read and write in one language. Multilingualism is advantageous for people wanting to participate in trade, globalization and cultural openness.[4] Owing to the ease of access to information facilitated by the Internet, individuals' exposure to multiple languages has become increasingly possible. People who speak several languages are also called polyglots.[5]

Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language (L1). The first language (sometimes also referred to as the mother tongue) is usually acquired without formal education, by mechanisms about which scholars disagree.[6] Children acquiring two languages natively from these early years are called simultaneous bilinguals. It is common for young simultaneous bilinguals to be more proficient in one language than the other.[7]

People who speak more than one language have been reported to be more adept at language learning compared to monolinguals.[8]

Multilingualism in computing can be considered part of a continuum between internationalization and localization. Due to the status of English in computing, software development nearly always uses it (but not in the case of non-English-based programming languages). Some commercial software is initially available in an English version, and multilingual versions, if any, may be produced as alternative options based on the English original.

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Language

Language

Language is a structured system of communication that consists of grammar and vocabulary. It is the primary means by which humans convey meaning, both in spoken and written forms, and may also be conveyed through sign languages. The vast majority of human languages have developed writing systems that allow for the recording and preservation of the sounds or signs of language. Human language is characterized by its cultural and historical diversity, with significant variations observed between cultures and across time. Human languages possess the properties of productivity and displacement, which enable the creation of an infinite number of sentences, and the ability to refer to objects, events, and ideas that are not immediately present in the discourse. The use of human language relies on social convention and is acquired through learning.

Monolingualism

Monolingualism

Monoglottism or, more commonly, monolingualism or unilingualism, is the condition of being able to speak only a single language, as opposed to multilingualism. In a different context, "unilingualism" may refer to a language policy which enforces an official or national language over others.

World population

World population

In demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living. It was estimated by the United Nations to have exceeded eight billion in November 2022. It took over 200,000 years of human prehistory and history for the human population to reach one billion and only 219 years more to reach 8 billion.

First language

First language

A first language, native tongue, native language, mother tongue or L1 is the first language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period. In some countries, the term native language or mother tongue refers to the language or dialect of one's ethnic group rather than one's first language.

Language acquisition

Language acquisition

Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate.

Simultaneous bilingualism

Simultaneous bilingualism

Simultaneous bilingualism is a form of bilingualism that takes place when a child becomes bilingual by learning two languages from birth. According to Annick De Houwer, in an article in The Handbook of Child Language, simultaneous bilingualism takes place in "children who are regularly addressed in two spoken languages from before the age of two and who continue to be regularly addressed in those languages up until the final stages" of language development. Both languages are acquired as first languages. This is in contrast to sequential bilingualism, in which the second language is learned not as a native language but a foreign language.

Internationalization and localization

Internationalization and localization

In computing, internationalization and localization (American) or internationalisation and localisation, often abbreviated i18n and L10n, are means of adapting computer software to different languages, regional peculiarities and technical requirements of a target locale.

English in computing

English in computing

The English language is sometimes described as the lingua franca of computing. In comparison to other sciences, where Latin and Greek are often the principal sources of vocabulary, computer science borrows more extensively from English. In the past, due to the technical limitations of early computers, and the lack of international standardization on the Internet, computer users were limited to using English and the Latin alphabet. However, this historical limitation is less present today, due to innovations in internet infrastructure and increases in computer speed. Most software products are localized in numerous languages and the invention of the Unicode character encoding has resolved problems with non-Latin alphabets. Some limitations have only been changed recently, such as with domain names, which previously allowed only ASCII characters.

Non-English-based programming languages

Non-English-based programming languages

Non-English-based programming languages are programming languages that do not use keywords taken from or inspired by English vocabulary.

History

The first recorded use of the word multilingualism originated in the English language in the 1800s as a combination of multi (many) and lingual (pertaining to languages, with the word existing in the Middle Ages). The phenomenon however, is old as different languages themselves.

Together, like many different languages, modern-day multilingualism is still encountered by some people who speak the same language. Bilingual signs represent a multitude of languages in an evolutive variety of texts with each writing.

Definition

Bilingual no trespassing sign at a construction site in Helsinki; upper text in Finnish and lower text in Swedish.
Bilingual no trespassing sign at a construction site in Helsinki; upper text in Finnish and lower text in Swedish.

The definition of multilingualism is a subject of debate in the same way as that of language fluency. This should not be confused with the term “bilingual”. These two phrases can often be used interchangeably, but to be bilingual indicates that two languages are learned, while multilingual suggests it is more than two. There are two sides to the linguistic debate has to how to define multilingualism, however. At one end of a sort of linguistic continuum, one may define multilingualism as complete competence in and mastery of more than one language. The speaker would presumably have complete knowledge and control over the languages and thus sound like a native speaker. At the opposite end of the spectrum would be people who know enough phrases to get around as a tourist using the alternate language. Since 1992, Vivian Cook has argued that most multilingual speakers fall somewhere between minimal and maximal definitions. Cook calls these people multi-competent.[9][10]

In addition, there is no consistent definition of what constitutes a distinct language.[11] For instance, scholars often disagree whether Scots is a language in its own right or merely a dialect of English.[12] Furthermore, what is considered a language can change, often for purely political reasons. One example is the creation of Serbo-Croatian as a standard language on the basis of the Eastern Herzegovinian dialect to function as umbrella for numerous South Slavic dialects; after the breakup of Yugoslavia it was split into Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin. Another example is that Ukrainian was dismissed as a Russian dialect by the Russian tsars to discourage national feelings.[13] Many small independent nations' schoolchildren are today compelled to learn multiple languages because of international interactions.[14] For example, in Finland, all children are required to learn at least three languages: the two national languages (Finnish and Swedish) and one foreign language (usually English). Many Finnish schoolchildren also study further languages, such as German or Russian.[15]

In some large nations with multiple languages, such as India, schoolchildren may routinely learn multiple languages based on where they reside in the country.

In many countries, bilingualism occurs through international relations, which, with English being the global lingua franca, sometimes results in majority bilingualism even when the countries have just one domestic official language. This is occurring especially in Germanic regions such as Scandinavia, the Benelux and among Germanophones, but it is also expanding into some non-Germanic countries.[16]

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Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital, primate, and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 658,864. The city's urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country's most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 km (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.

Finnish language

Finnish language

Finnish is a Uralic language of the Finnic branch, spoken by the majority of the population in Finland and by ethnic Finns outside of Finland. Finnish is one of the two official languages of Finland. In Sweden, both Finnish and Meänkieli are official minority languages. The Kven language, which like Meänkieli is mutually intelligible with Finnish, is spoken in the Norwegian county Troms og Finnmark by a minority group of Finnish descent.

Multi-competence

Multi-competence

Multi-competence is a concept in second language acquisition formulated by Vivian Cook that refers to the knowledge of more than one language in one person's mind. From the multicompetence perspective, the different languages a person speaks are seen as one connected system, rather than each language being a separate system. People who speak a second language are seen as unique multilingual individuals, rather than people who have merely attached another language to their repertoire.

Scots language

Scots language

Scots is an Anglic language variety in the West Germanic language family, spoken in Scotland and parts of Ulster in the north of Ireland. Most commonly spoken in the Scottish Lowlands, Northern Isles and northern Ulster, it is sometimes called Lowland Scots or Broad Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Goidelic Celtic language that was historically restricted to most of the Scottish Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century. Modern Scots is a sister language of Modern English, as the two diverged independently from the same source: Early Middle English (1150–1300).

English language

English language

English is a West Germanic language in the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain. Existing on a dialect continuum with Scots, and then most closely related to the Low German and Frisian languages, English is genealogically Germanic. However, its vocabulary also shows major influences from French and Latin, plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse. Speakers of English are called Anglophones.

Eastern Herzegovinian dialect

Eastern Herzegovinian dialect

The Eastern Herzegovinian dialect is the most widespread subdialect of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian, both by territory and the number of speakers. It is the dialectal basis for all modern literary Serbo-Croatian standards: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin.

South Slavic languages

South Slavic languages

The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers.

Serbian language

Serbian language

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official and national language of Serbia, one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and co-official in Montenegro and Kosovo. It is a recognized minority language in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Croatian language

Croatian language

Croatian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Bosnian language

Bosnian language

Bosnian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language mainly used by ethnic Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of three such varieties considered official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian. It is also an officially recognized minority language in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo.

Montenegrin language

Montenegrin language

Montenegrin is a normative variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Montenegrins and is the official language of Montenegro. Montenegrin is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian.

India

India

India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.

Acquisition

One view is that of the linguist Noam Chomsky in what he calls the human language acquisition device—a mechanism which enables a learner to recreate correctly the rules and certain other characteristics of language used by surrounding speakers.[17] This device, according to Chomsky, wears out over time, and is not normally available by puberty, which he uses to explain the poor results some adolescents and adults have when learning aspects of a second language (L2).

If language learning is a cognitive process, rather than a language acquisition device, as the school led by Stephen Krashen suggests, there would only be relative, not categorical, differences between the two types of language learning.

Rod Ellis quotes research finding that the earlier children learn a second language, the better off they are, in terms of pronunciation.[a] European schools generally offer secondary language classes for their students early on, due to the interconnectedness with neighbor countries with different languages. Most European students now study at least two foreign languages, a process strongly encouraged by the European Union.[18]

Based on the research in Ann Fathman's The Relationship between age and second language productive ability,[19] there is a difference in the rate of learning of English morphology, syntax and phonology based upon differences in age, but that the order of acquisition in second language learning does not change with age.

In second language class, students will commonly face difficulties in thinking in the target language because they are influenced by their native language and culture patterns. Robert B. Kaplan thinks that in second language classes, the foreign-student paper is out of focus because the foreign student is employing rhetoric and a sequence of thought which violate the expectations of the native reader.[20] Foreign students who have mastered syntactic structures have still demonstrated an inability to compose adequate themes, term papers, theses, and dissertations. Robert B. Kaplan describes two key words that affect people when they learn a second language. Logic in the popular, rather than the logician's sense of the word, is the basis of rhetoric, evolved out of a culture; it is not universal. Rhetoric, then, is not universal either, but varies from culture to culture and even from time to time within a given culture.[20] Language teachers know how to predict the differences between pronunciations or constructions in different languages, but they might be less clear about the differences between rhetoric, that is, in the way they use language to accomplish various purposes, particularly in writing.[21]

People who learn multiple languages may also experience positive transfer – the process by which it becomes easier to learn additional languages if the grammar or vocabulary of the new language is similar to those of the languages already spoken. On the other hand, students may also experience negative transfer – interference from languages learned at an earlier stage of development while learning a new language later in life.[22]

Translanguaging also supports the acquisition of new languages. It helps the development of new languages by making connections between languages.

Receptive bilingualism

Receptive bilinguals are those who can understand a second language but who cannot speak it or whose abilities to speak it are inhibited by psychological barriers. Receptive bilingualism is frequently encountered among adult immigrants to the U.S. who do not speak English as a native language but who have children who do speak English natively, usually in part because those children's education has been conducted in English; while the immigrant parents can understand both their native language and English, they speak only their native language to their children. If their children are likewise receptively bilingual but productively English-monolingual, throughout the conversation the parents will speak their native language and the children will speak English. If their children are productively bilingual, however, those children may answer in the parents' native language, in English, or in a combination of both languages, varying their choice of language depending on factors such as the communication's content, context or emotional intensity and the presence or absence of third-party speakers of one language or the other. The third alternative represents the phenomenon of "code-switching" in which the productively bilingual party to a communication switches languages in the course of that communication. Receptively bilingual persons, especially children, may rapidly achieve oral fluency by spending extended time in situations where they are required to speak the language that they theretofore understood only passively. Until both generations achieve oral fluency, not all definitions of bilingualism accurately characterize the family as a whole, but the linguistic differences between the family's generations often constitute little or no impairment to the family's functionality.[23] Receptive bilingualism in one language as exhibited by a speaker of another language, or even as exhibited by most speakers of that language, is not the same as mutual intelligibility of languages; the latter is a property of a pair of languages, namely a consequence of objectively high lexical and grammatical similarities between the languages themselves (e.g., Norwegian and Swedish), whereas the former is a property of one or more persons and is determined by subjective or intersubjective factors such as the respective languages' prevalence in the life history (including family upbringing, educational setting, and ambient culture) of the person or persons.[24]

Order of acquisition

In sequential bilingualism, learners receive literacy instruction in their native language until they acquire a "threshold" literacy proficiency. Some researchers use age three as the age when a child has basic communicative competence in their first language (Kessler, 1984).[25] Children may go through a process of sequential acquisition if they migrate at a young age to a country where a different language is spoken, or if the child exclusively speaks his or her heritage language at home until he/she is immersed in a school setting where instruction is offered in a different language.

In simultaneous bilingualism, the native language and the community language are simultaneously taught. The advantage is literacy in two languages as the outcome. However, the teacher must be well-versed in both languages and also in techniques for teaching a second language.

The phases children go through during sequential acquisition are less linear than for simultaneous acquisition and can vary greatly among children. Sequential acquisition is a more complex and lengthier process, although there is no indication that non-language-delayed children end up less proficient than simultaneous bilinguals, so long as they receive adequate input in both languages.[26]

A coordinate model posits that equal time should be spent in separate instruction of the native language and the community language. The native language class, however, focuses on basic literacy while the community language class focuses on listening and speaking skills. Being bilingual does not necessarily mean that one can speak, for example, English and French.

Outcomes

Research has found that the development of competence in the native language serves as a foundation of proficiency that can be transposed to the second language – the common underlying proficiency hypothesis.[27][28] Cummins' work sought to overcome the perception propagated in the 1960s that learning two languages made for two competing aims. The belief was that the two languages were mutually exclusive and that learning a second required unlearning elements and dynamics of the first to accommodate the second.[29] The evidence for this perspective relied on the fact that some errors in acquiring the second language were related to the rules of the first language.[29]

Another new development that has influenced the linguistic argument for bilingual literacy is the length of time necessary to acquire the second language. While previously children were believed to have the ability to learn a language within a year, today researchers believe that within and across academic settings, the period is closer to five years.[30][31]

An interesting outcome of studies during the early 1990s, however, confirmed that students who do complete bilingual instruction perform better academically.[30][31] These students exhibit more cognitive elasticity including a better ability to analyze abstract visual patterns. Students who receive bidirectional bilingual instruction where equal proficiency in both languages is required will perform at an even higher level. Examples of such programs include international and multi-national education schools.

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Language acquisition

Language acquisition

Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate.

Language education

Language education

Language education – the process and practice of teaching a second or foreign language – is primarily a branch of applied linguistics, but can be an interdisciplinary field. There are four main learning categories for language education: communicative competencies, proficiencies, cross-cultural experiences, and multiple literacies.

Linguistics

Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguistics is concerned with both the cognitive and social aspects of language. It is considered a scientific field as well as an academic discipline; it has been classified as a social science, natural science, cognitive science, or part of the humanities.

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

Avram Noam Chomsky is an American public intellectual: a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called "the father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is a Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and an Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the author of more than 150 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

Language acquisition device

Language acquisition device

The Language Acquisition Device (LAD) is a claim from language acquisition research proposed by Noam Chomsky in the 1960s. The LAD concept is a purported instinctive mental capacity which enables an infant to acquire and produce language. It is a component of the nativist theory of language. This theory asserts that humans are born with the instinct or "innate facility" for acquiring language. The main argument given in favor of the LAD was the argument from the poverty of the stimulus, which argues that unless children have significant innate knowledge of grammar, they would not be able to learn language as quickly as they do, given that they never have access to negative evidence and rarely receive direct instruction in their first language.

Puberty

Puberty

Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child's body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. It is initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads: the ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy. In response to the signals, the gonads produce hormones that stimulate libido and the growth, function, and transformation of the brain, bones, muscle, blood, skin, hair, breasts, and sex organs. Physical growth—height and weight—accelerates in the first half of puberty and is completed when an adult body has been developed. Before puberty, the external sex organs, known as primary sexual characteristics, are sex characteristics that distinguish boys and girls. Puberty leads to sexual dimorphism through the development of the secondary sex characteristics, which further distinguish the sexes.

Cognition

Cognition

Cognition refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses all aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: perception, attention, thought, intelligence, the formation of knowledge, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and computation, problem solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language. Imagination is also a cognitive process, it is considered as such because it involves thinking about possibilities. Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and discover new knowledge.

Pronunciation

Pronunciation

Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a language is spoken. This may refer to generally agreed-upon sequences of sounds used in speaking a given word or language in a specific dialect or simply the way a particular individual speaks a word or language.

European Union

European Union

The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and an estimated total population of about 447 million. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity combining the characteristics of both a federation and a confederation.

Logic

Logic

Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating how conclusions follow from premises in a topic-neutral way. When used as a countable noun, the term "a logic" refers to a logical formal system that articulates a proof system. Formal logic contrasts with informal logic, which is associated with informal fallacies, critical thinking, and argumentation theory. While there is no general agreement on how formal and informal logic are to be distinguished, one prominent approach associates their difference with whether the studied arguments are expressed in formal or informal languages. Logic plays a central role in multiple fields, such as philosophy, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics.

Language transfer

Language transfer

Language transfer is the application of linguistic features from one language to another by a bilingual or multilingual speaker. Language transfer may occur across both languages in the acquisition of a simultaneous bilingual, from a mature speaker's first language (L1) to a second language (L2) they are acquiring, or from an L2 back to the L1. Language transfer is most commonly discussed in the context of English language learning and teaching, but it can occur in any situation when someone does not have a native-level command of a language, as when translating into a second language. Language transfer is also a common topic in bilingual child language acquisition as it occurs frequently in bilingual children especially when one language is dominant.

Grammar

Grammar

In linguistics, the grammar of a natural language is its set of structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clauses, phrases, and words. The term can also refer to the study of such constraints, a field that includes domains such as phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics. There are currently two different approaches to the study of grammar: traditional grammar and theoretical grammar.

In individuals

A multilingual person is someone who can communicate in more than one language actively (through speaking, writing, or signing). Multilingual people can speak any language they write in, but cannot necessarily write in any language they speak. More specifically, bilingual and trilingual people are those in comparable situations involving two or three languages, respectively. A multilingual person is generally referred to as a polyglot, a term that may also refer to people who learn multiple languages as a hobby.[32][33] Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language (L1). The first language (sometimes also referred to as the mother tongue) is acquired without formal education, by mechanisms heavily disputed. Children acquiring two languages in this way are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the case of simultaneous bilinguals, one language usually dominates over the other.[34]

In linguistics, first language acquisition is closely related to the concept of a "native speaker". According to a view widely held by linguists, a native speaker of a given language has in some respects a level of skill which a second (or subsequent) language learner cannot easily accomplish. Consequently, descriptive empirical studies of languages are usually carried out using only native speakers. This view is, however, slightly problematic, particularly as many non-native speakers demonstrably not only successfully engage with and in their non-native language societies, but in fact may become culturally and even linguistically important contributors (as, for example, writers, politicians, media personalities and performing artists) in their non-native language. In recent years, linguistic research has focused attention on the use of widely known world languages, such as English, as a lingua franca or a shared common language of professional and commercial communities. In lingua franca situations, most speakers of the common language are functionally multilingual.

The reverse phenomenon, where people who know more than one language end up losing command of some or all of their additional languages, is called language attrition. It has been documented that, under certain conditions, individuals may lose their L1 language proficiency completely, after switching to the exclusive use of another language, and effectively "become native" in a language that was once secondary after the L1 undergoes total attrition.

This is most commonly seen among immigrant communities and has been the subject of substantial academic study. The most important factor in spontaneous, total L1 loss appears to be age; in the absence of neurological dysfunction or injury, only young children typically are at risk of forgetting their native language and switching to a new one.[35] Once they pass an age that seems to correlate closely with the critical period, around the age of 12, total loss of a native language is not typical, although it is still possible for speakers to experience diminished expressive capacity if the language is never practiced.[36]

Cognitive ability

People who use more than one language have been reported to be more adept at language learning compared to monolinguals.[8] Individuals who are highly proficient in two or more languages have been reported to have enhanced executive functions, such as inhibitory control or cognitive flexibility, or even have reduced-risk for dementia.[37][38][39][40][41] More recently, however, this claim has come under strong criticism[42][43] with repeated failures to replicate.[44][45] One possible reason for this discrepancy is that bilingualism is rich and diverse; bilingualism can take different forms according to the context and geographic location in which it is studied.[46] Yet, many prior studies do not reliably quantify samples of bilinguals under investigation.[47] An emerging perspective is that studies on bilingual and multilingual cognitive abilities need to account for validated and granular quantifications of language experience in order to identify boundary conditions of possible cognitive effects.[48][49][50][51]

Auditory ability

Bilingual and multilingual individuals are shown to have superior auditory processing abilities compared to monolingual individuals.[52] Several investigations have compared auditory processing abilities of monolingual and bilingual individuals using tasks such as gap detection, temporal ordering, pitch pattern recognition etc. In general, results of studies have reported superior performance among bilingual and multilingual individuals. Further, among bilingual individuals, the level of proficiency in the second language was also reported to have an influence on the auditory processing abilities.

Economic benefits

Bilinguals might have important labor market advantages over monolingual individuals as bilingual people can carry out duties that monolinguals cannot,[53] such as interacting with customers who only speak a minority language. A study in Switzerland has found that multilingualism is positively correlated with an individual's salary, the productivity of firms, and the gross domestic production (GDP); the authors state that Switzerland's GDP is augmented by 10% by multilingualism.[54] A study in the United States by Agirdag found that bilingualism has substantial economic benefits as bilingual persons were found to have around $3,000 per year more salary than monolinguals.[55]

Psychology

A study in 2012 has shown that using a foreign language reduces decision-making biases. It was surmised that the framing effect disappeared when choices are presented in a second language. As human reasoning is shaped by two distinct modes of thought: one that is systematic, analytical and cognition-intensive, and another that is fast, unconscious and emotionally charged, it was believed that a second language provides a useful cognitive distance from automatic processes, promoting analytical thought and reducing unthinking, emotional reaction. Therefore, those who speak two languages have better critical thinking and decision-making skills.[56] A study published a year later found that switching into a second language seems to exempt bilinguals from the social norms and constraints such as political correctness.[57] In 2014, another study has shown that people using a foreign language are more likely to make utilitarian decisions when faced with a moral dilemma, as in the trolley problem. The utilitarian option was chosen more often in the fat man case when presented in a foreign language. However, there was no difference in the switch track case. It was surmised that a foreign language lacks the emotional impact of one's native language.[58]

Personality

Because it is difficult or impossible to master many of the high-level semantic aspects of a language (including but not limited to its idioms and eponyms) without first understanding the culture and history of the region in which that language evolved, as a practical matter an in-depth familiarity with multiple cultures is a prerequisite for high-level multilingualism. This knowledge of cultures individually and comparatively can form an important part of both what one considers one's identity to be and what others consider that identity to be.[34][59] Some studies have found that groups of multilingual individuals get higher average scores on tests for certain personality traits such as cultural empathy, open-mindedness and social initiative.[60][61] The idea of linguistic relativity, which claims that the language people speak influences the way they see the world, can be interpreted to mean that individuals who speak multiple languages have a broader, more diverse view of the world, even when speaking only one language at a time.[62] Some bilinguals feel that their personality changes depending on which language they are speaking;[63][64] thus multilingualism is said to create multiple personalities. Xiao-lei Wang states in her book Growing up with Three Languages: Birth to Eleven: "Languages used by speakers with one or more than one language are used not just to represent a unitary self, but to enact different kinds of selves, and different linguistic contexts create different kinds of self-expression and experiences for the same person." However, there has been little rigorous research done on this topic and it is difficult to define "personality" in this context. François Grosjean wrote: "What is seen as a change in personality is most probably simply a shift in attitudes and behaviors that correspond to a shift in situation or context, independent of language."[65] However, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which states that a language shapes our vision of the world, may suggest that a language learned by a grown-up may have much fewer emotional connotations and therefore allow a more serene discussion than a language learned by a child and to that respect more or less bound to a child's perception of the world. A 2013 study found that rather than an emotion-based explanation, switching into the second language seems to exempt bilinguals from the social norms and constraints such as political correctness.[57]

Hyperpolyglots

While many polyglots know up to six languages, the number drops off sharply past this point.[66][33] People who speak many more than this—Michael Erard suggests eleven or more—are sometimes classed as hyperpolyglots.[67][68] Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti, for example, was an Italian priest reputed to have spoken anywhere from 30 to 72 languages.[33][68] The causes of advanced language aptitude are still under research; one theory suggests that a spike in a baby's testosterone levels while in the uterus can increase brain asymmetry, which may relate to music and language ability, among other effects.[69]

While the term savant generally refers to an individual with a natural or innate talent for a particular field, people diagnosed with savant syndrome are typically individuals with significant mental disabilities who demonstrate profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal,[70][71] occasionally including the capacity for languages. The condition is associated with an increased memory capacity, which would aid in the storage and retrieval of knowledge of a language.[72] In 1991, for example, Neil Smith and Ianthi-Maria Tsimpli described Christopher, a man with non-verbal IQ scores between 40 and 70, who learned sixteen languages. Christopher was born in 1962 and approximately six months after his birth was diagnosed with brain damage.[73] Despite being institutionalized because he was unable to take care of himself, Christopher had a verbal IQ of 89, was able to speak English with no impairment, and could learn subsequent languages with apparent ease. This facility with language and communication is considered unusual among savants.[74]

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First language

First language

A first language, native tongue, native language, mother tongue or L1 is the first language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period. In some countries, the term native language or mother tongue refers to the language or dialect of one's ethnic group rather than one's first language.

Language attrition

Language attrition

Language attrition is the process of losing a native or first language. This process is generally caused by both isolation from speakers of the first language ("L1") and the acquisition and use of a second language ("L2"), which interferes with the correct production and comprehension of the first. Such interference from a second language is probably experienced to some extent by all bilinguals, but is most evident among speakers for whom a language other than their first has started to play an important, if not dominant, role in everyday life; these speakers are more likely to experience language attrition. It is common among immigrants that travel to countries where languages foreign to them are used.

Critical period hypothesis

Critical period hypothesis

The critical period hypothesis or sensitive period hypothesis claims that there is an ideal time window of brain development to acquire language in a linguistically rich environment, after which further language acquisition becomes much more difficult and effortful. It is the subject of a long-standing debate in linguistics and language acquisition over the extent to which the ability to acquire language is biologically linked to age. The critical period hypothesis was first proposed by Montreal neurologist Wilder Penfield and co-author Lamar Roberts in their 1959 book Speech and Brain Mechanisms, and was popularized by Eric Lenneberg in 1967 with Biological Foundations of Language.

Executive functions

Executive functions

In cognitive science and neuropsychology, executive functions are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. Executive functions include basic cognitive processes such as attentional control, cognitive inhibition, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Higher-order executive functions require the simultaneous use of multiple basic executive functions and include planning and fluid intelligence.

Inhibitory control

Inhibitory control

Inhibitory control, also known as response inhibition, is a cognitive process – and, more specifically, an executive function – that permits an individual to inhibit their impulses and natural, habitual, or dominant behavioral responses to stimuli in order to select a more appropriate behavior that is consistent with completing their goals. Self-control is an important aspect of inhibitory control. For example, successfully suppressing the natural behavioral response to eat cake when one is craving it while dieting requires the use of inhibitory control.

Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is an intrinsic property of a cognitive system often associated with the mental ability to adjust its activity and content, switch between different task rules and corresponding behavioral responses, maintain multiple concepts simultaneously and shift internal attention between them. The term cognitive flexibility is traditionally used to refer to one of the executive functions. In this sense, it can be seen as neural underpinnings of adaptive and flexible behavior. Most flexibility tests were developed under this assumption several decades ago. Nowadays, cognitive flexibility can also be referred to as a set of properties of the brain that facilitate flexible yet relevant switching between functional brain states.

Dementia

Dementia

Dementia is a disorder which manifests as a set of related symptoms, which usually surfaces when the brain is damaged by injury or disease. The symptoms involve progressive impairments in memory, thinking, and behavior, which negatively affects a person's ability to function and carry out everyday activities. Aside from memory impairment and a disruption in thought patterns, the most common symptoms include emotional problems, difficulties with language, and decreased motivation. The symptoms may be described as occurring in a continuum over several stages. Consciousness is not affected. Dementia ultimately has a significant effect on the individual, caregivers, and on social relationships in general. A diagnosis of dementia requires the observation of a change from a person's usual mental functioning and a greater cognitive decline than what is caused by normal aging.

Framing effect (psychology)

Framing effect (psychology)

The framing effect is a cognitive bias where people decide on options based on whether the options are presented with positive or negative connotations; e.g. as a loss or as a gain.

Idiom

Idiom

An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurative idioms while retaining the literal meaning of the phrase. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. Idioms occur frequently in all languages; in English alone there are an estimated twenty-five million idiomatic expressions.

Eponym

Eponym

An eponym is a person, a place, or a thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives which are derived from the word eponym include eponymous and eponymic.

Empathy

Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of social, cognitive, and emotional processes primarily concerned with understanding others. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, somatic empathy, and spiritual empathy.

François Grosjean

François Grosjean

François Grosjean is a Professor Emeritus and former Director of the Language and Speech Processing Laboratory at the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). His specialty is psycholinguistics and his domains of interest are the perception, comprehension and production of language, be it speech or sign language, in monolinguals and bilinguals. He also has interests in biculturalism, applied linguistics, aphasia, sign language, and natural language processing. He is better known for his work on bilingualism in which he has investigated the holistic view of bilingualism, language mode, the complementarity principle, and the processing of code-switching and borrowing. In one of his most-cited papers, Grosjean argues that hearing-impaired children have the right to grow up bilingual, learning two languages—namely, sign language and oral language.

Neuroscience

In communities

Croatian-Italian bilingual plate on a public building in Pula/Pola (Istria)
Croatian-Italian bilingual plate on a public building in Pula/Pola (Istria)
A bilingual sign in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In Brussels, both Dutch and French are official languages.
A bilingual sign in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In Brussels, both Dutch and French are official languages.
A multilingual sign at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier in Macau. At the top are Portuguese and Chinese, which are the official languages of Macau, while at the bottom are Japanese and English, which are common languages used by tourists (English is also one of Hong Kong's two official languages).
A multilingual sign at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier in Macau. At the top are Portuguese and Chinese, which are the official languages of Macau, while at the bottom are Japanese and English, which are common languages used by tourists (English is also one of Hong Kong's two official languages).
A caution message in English, Kannada and Hindi found in Bangalore, India
A caution message in English, Kannada and Hindi found in Bangalore, India
The three-language (Tamil, English and Hindi) name board at the Tirusulam suburban railway station in Chennai (Madras). Almost all railway stations in India have signs like these in three or more languages (English, Hindi and the local language).
The three-language (Tamil, English and Hindi) name board at the Tirusulam suburban railway station in Chennai (Madras). Almost all railway stations in India have signs like these in three or more languages (English, Hindi and the local language).
Multilingual sign at Vancouver International Airport, international arrivals area. Text in English, French, and Chinese is a permanent feature of this sign, while the right panel of the sign is a video screen that rotates through additional languages.
Multilingual sign at Vancouver International Airport, international arrivals area. Text in English, French, and Chinese is a permanent feature of this sign, while the right panel of the sign is a video screen that rotates through additional languages.
Multilingual sign at an exit of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, Philippines. Three or four languages are shown: Japanese/Mandarin Chinese ("deguchi" or "chūkǒu", respectively), English ("exit") and Korean ("chulgu"). While Filipinos themselves are anglophone, such signs cater to the growing number of Koreans and other foreigners in the country.
Multilingual sign at an exit of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, Philippines. Three or four languages are shown: Japanese/Mandarin Chinese ("deguchi" or "chūkǒu", respectively), English ("exit") and Korean ("chulgu"). While Filipinos themselves are anglophone, such signs cater to the growing number of Koreans and other foreigners in the country.
Multilingual message at a public toilet in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the Philippines that prohibits foot washing. Text is written in six languages: English, Filipino, Cebuano, Chinese, Korean, and Russian respectively.
Multilingual message at a public toilet in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the Philippines that prohibits foot washing. Text is written in six languages: English, Filipino, Cebuano, Chinese, Korean, and Russian respectively.
A train name found in South India written in four languages: Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, and English.  Boards like this are common on trains which pass through two or more states where the languages are spoken are different.
A train name found in South India written in four languages: Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, and English. Boards like this are common on trains which pass through two or more states where the languages are spoken are different.
A trilingual (Arabic, English and Urdu) sign in the UAE in the three widely spoken languages in the UAE
A trilingual (Arabic, English and Urdu) sign in the UAE in the three widely spoken languages in the UAE

Widespread multilingualism is one form of language contact. Multilingualism was common in the past: in early times, when most people were members of small language communities, it was necessary to know two or more languages for trade or any other dealings outside one's town or village, and this holds good today in places of high linguistic diversity such as Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Linguist Ekkehard Wolff estimates that 50% of the population of Africa is multilingual.[75]

In multilingual societies, not all speakers need to be multilingual. Some states can have multilingual policies and recognize several official languages, such as Canada (English and French). In some states, particular languages may be associated with particular regions in the state (e.g., Canada) or with particular ethnicities (e.g., Malaysia and Singapore). When all speakers are multilingual, linguists classify the community according to the functional distribution of the languages involved:

  • Diglossia: if there is a structural-functional distribution of the languages involved, the society is termed 'diglossic'. Typical diglossic areas are those areas in Europe where a regional language is used in informal, usually oral, contexts, while the state language is used in more formal situations. Frisia (with Frisian and German or Dutch) and Lusatia (with Sorbian and German) are well-known examples. Some writers limit diglossia to situations where the languages are closely related and could be considered dialects of each other. This can also be observed in Scotland where, in formal situations, English is used. However, in informal situations in many areas, Scots is the preferred language of choice. A similar phenomenon is also observed in Arabic-speaking regions. The effects of diglossia could be seen in the difference between written Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic) and colloquial Arabic. However, as time goes, the Arabic language somewhere between the two has been created what some have deemed "Middle Arabic" or "Common Arabic". Because of this diversification of the language, the concept of spectroglossia[76] has been suggested.
  • Ambilingualism: a region is called ambilingual if this functional distribution is not observed. In a typical ambilingual area it is nearly impossible to predict which language will be used in a given setting. True ambilingualism is rare. Ambilingual tendencies can be found in small states with multiple heritages like Luxembourg, which has a combined Franco-Germanic heritage, or Malaysia and Singapore, which fuses the cultures of Malays, China, and India or communities with high rates of deafness like Martha's Vineyard where historically most inhabitants spoke both MVSL and English or in southern Israel where locals speak both Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language and either Arabic or Hebrew. Ambilingualism also can manifest in specific regions of larger states that have both a dominant state language (be it de jure or de facto) and a protected minority language that is limited in terms of the distribution of speakers within the country. This tendency is especially pronounced when, even though the local language is widely spoken, there is a reasonable assumption that all citizens speak the predominant state tongue (e.g., English in Quebec vs. all of Canada; Spanish in Catalonia vs. all of Spain). This phenomenon can also occur in border regions with many cross-border contacts.
  • Bipart-lingualism: if more than one language can be heard in a small area, but the large majority of speakers are monolinguals, who have little contact with speakers from neighboring ethnic groups, an area is called 'bipart-lingual'. An example of this is the Balkans.

N.B. the terms given above all refer to situations describing only two languages. In cases of an unspecified number of languages, the terms polyglossia, omnilingualism, and multipart-lingualism are more appropriate.

Taxell’s paradox refers to the notion that monolingual solutions are essential to the realization of functional bilingualism, with multilingual solutions ultimately leading to monolingualism. The theory is based on the observation of the Swedish language in Finland in environments such as schools is subordinated to the majority language Finnish for practical and social reasons, despite the positive characteristics associated with mutual language learning.[77][78]

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List of multilingual countries and regions

List of multilingual countries and regions

This is an incomplete list of areas with either multilingualism at the community level or at the personal level.

Brussels

Brussels

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region.

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,528 km2 (11,787 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376/km2 (970/sq mi). Belgium is part of an area known as the Low Countries, historically a somewhat larger region than the Benelux group of states, as it also included parts of northern France. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.

Dutch language

Dutch language

Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million as a second language. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives German and English. Afrikaans is a separate but somewhat mutually intelligible daughter language spoken, to some degree, by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia, evolving from the Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa. The dialects used in Belgium and in Suriname, meanwhile, are all guided by the Dutch Language Union.

French language

French language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Macau

Macau

Macau or Macao, officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), is a city and special administrative region of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With a population of about 680,000 and an area of 32.9 km2 (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.

Chinese language

Chinese language

Chinese is a group of languages spoken natively by the ethnic Han Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in Greater China. About 1.3 billion people speak a variety of Chinese as their first language.

Japanese language

Japanese language

Japanese is spoken as a native language by about 128 million people, primarily Japanese people and primarily in Japan, the only country where it is the national language. Japanese belongs to the Japonic or Japanese-Ryukyuan language family. There have been many attempts to group the Japonic languages with other families such as the Ainu, Austroasiatic, Koreanic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

English language

English language

English is a West Germanic language in the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain. Existing on a dialect continuum with Scots, and then most closely related to the Low German and Frisian languages, English is genealogically Germanic. However, its vocabulary also shows major influences from French and Latin, plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse. Speakers of English are called Anglophones.

Hindi

Hindi

Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in the Hindi Belt region encompassing parts of northern, central, eastern, and western India. Hindi has been described as a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language, which itself is based primarily on the Khariboli dialect of Delhi and neighbouring areas of North India. Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is one of the two official languages of the Government of India, along with English. It is an official language in nine states and three union territories and an additional official language in three other states. Hindi is also one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India.

Bangalore

Bangalore

Bangalore, officially Bengaluru, is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It has a population of more than 8 million and a metropolitan population of around 11 million, making it the third most populous city and fifth most populous urban agglomeration in India, as well as the largest city in Southern India. Located on the Deccan Plateau, at a height of over 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level, Bangalore has a pleasant climate throughout the year, with its parks and green spaces earning it the reputation as the "Garden City" of India. It’s elevation is the highest amongst the major cities in the country. Bangalore has been consistently ranked as the “most liveable city” in India, as per the Ease of Living Index.

India

India

India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.

Interaction between speakers of different languages

Whenever two people meet, negotiations take place. If they want to express solidarity and sympathy, they tend to seek common features in their behavior. If speakers wish to express distance towards or even dislike of the person they are speaking to, the reverse is true, and differences are sought. This mechanism also extends to language, as described in the Communication Accommodation Theory.

Some multilinguals use code-switching, which involves swapping between languages. In many cases, code-switching allows speakers to participate in more than one cultural group or environment. Code-switching may also function as a strategy where proficiency is lacking. Such strategies are common if the vocabulary of one of the languages is not very elaborated for certain fields, or if the speakers have not developed proficiency in certain lexical domains, as in the case of immigrant languages.

This code-switching appears in many forms. If a speaker has a positive attitude towards both languages and towards code-switching, many switches can be found, even within the same sentence.[79] If however, the speaker is reluctant to use code-switching, as in the case of a lack of proficiency, he might knowingly or unknowingly try to camouflage his attempt by converting elements of one language into elements of the other language through calquing. This results in speakers using words like courrier noir (literally mail that is black) in French, instead of the proper word for blackmail, chantage.

Sometimes a pidgin language may develop. A pidgin language is a fusion of two languages that is mutually understandable for both speakers. Some pidgin languages develop into real languages (such as Papiamento in Curaçao or Singlish in Singapore) while others remain as slangs or jargons (such as Helsinki slang, which is more or less mutually intelligible both in Finnish and Swedish). In other cases, prolonged influence of languages on each other may have the effect of changing one or both to the point where it may be considered that a new language is born. For example, many linguists believe that the Occitan language and the Catalan language were formed because of a population speaking a single Occitano-Romance language was divided into political spheres of influence of France and Spain, respectively. Yiddish is a complex blend of Middle High German with Hebrew and borrowings from Slavic languages.

Bilingual interaction can even take place without the speaker switching. In certain areas, it is not uncommon for speakers to use a different language within the same conversation. This phenomenon is found, amongst other places, in Scandinavia. Most speakers of Swedish, Norwegian and Danish can communicate with each other speaking their respective languages, while few can speak both (people used to these situations often adjust their language, avoiding words that are not found in the other language or that can be misunderstood). Using different languages is usually called non-convergent discourse, a term introduced by the Dutch linguist Reitze Jonkman. To a certain extent, this situation also exists between Dutch and Afrikaans, although everyday contact is fairly rare because of the distance between the two respective communities. Another example is the former state of Czechoslovakia, where two closely related and mutually intelligible languages (Czech and Slovak) were in common use. Most Czechs and Slovaks understand both languages, although they would use only one of them (their respective mother tongue) when speaking. For example, in Czechoslovakia, it was common to hear two people talking on television each speaking a different language without any difficulty understanding each other. This bilinguality still exists nowadays, although it has started to deteriorate after Czechoslovakia split up.[80]

Discover more about Interaction between speakers of different languages related topics

Code-switching

Code-switching

In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation or situation. Code-switching is different from plurilingualism in that plurilingualism refers to the ability of an individual to use multiple languages, while code-switching is the act of using multiple languages together. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety. Code-switching may happen between sentences, sentence fragments, words, or individual morphemes. However, some linguists consider the borrowing of words or morphemes from another language to be different from other types of code-switching. There are many ways in which code-switching is employed, such as when a speaker is unable to express themselves adequately in a single language or to signal an attitude towards something. Several theories have been developed to explain the reasoning behind code-switching from sociological and linguistic perspectives.

Calque

Calque

In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal word-for-word or root-for-root translation. When used as a verb, "to calque" means to borrow a word or phrase from another language while translating its components, so as to create a new lexeme in the target language. For instance, the English word "skyscraper" was calqued in dozens of other languages. Another notable example is the Latin weekday names, which came to be associated by ancient Germanic speakers with their own gods following a practice known as interpretatio germanica: the Latin "Day of Mercury", Mercurii dies, was borrowed into Late Proto-Germanic as the "Day of Wōđanaz" (*Wodanesdag), which became Wōdnesdæg in Old English, then "Wednesday" in Modern English.

Blackmail

Blackmail

Blackmail is an act of coercion using the threat of revealing or publicizing either substantially true or false information about a person or people unless certain demands are met. It is often damaging information, and it may be revealed to family members or associates rather than to the general public. These acts can also involve using threats of physical, mental or emotional harm, or of criminal prosecution, against the victim or someone close to the victim. It is normally carried out for personal gain, most commonly of position, money, or property.

Papiamento

Papiamento

Papiamento or Papiamentu is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean. It is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean ABC islands, with official status in Aruba and Curaçao. Papiamento is also a recognised language in the Dutch public bodies of Sint-Eustatius and Saba.

Curaçao

Curaçao

Curaçao, officially the Country of Curaçao, is a Lesser Antilles island country in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuela coast. It is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Together with Aruba and Bonaire, it forms the ABC islands. Collectively, Curaçao, Aruba, and other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.

Helsinki slang

Helsinki slang

Helsinki slang or stadin slangi is a local dialect and a sociolect of the Finnish language mainly used in the capital city of Helsinki. It is characterized by its abundance of foreign loan words not found in the other Finnish dialects.

Mutual intelligibility

Mutual intelligibility

In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related varieties can readily understand each other without prior familiarity or special effort. It is sometimes used as an important criterion for distinguishing languages from dialects, although sociolinguistic factors are often also used.

Occitan language

Occitan language

Occitan, also known as lenga d'òc by its native speakers, and sometimes also referred to as Provençal, is a Romance language spoken in Southern France, Monaco, Italy's Occitan Valleys, as well as Spain's Val d'Aran; collectively, these regions are sometimes referred to as Occitània. It is also spoken in Calabria in a linguistic enclave of Cosenza area. Some include Catalan in Occitan, as the distance between this language and some Occitan dialects is similar to the distance between different Occitan dialects. Catalan was considered a dialect of Occitan until the end of the 19th century and still today remains its closest relative.

Catalan language

Catalan language

Catalan, known in the Valencian Community and Carche as Valencian, is a Western Romance language. It is the official language of Andorra, and an official language of three autonomous communities in eastern Spain: Catalonia, the Valencian Community, and the Balearic Islands. It also has semi-official status in the Italian comune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France and in two further areas in eastern Spain: the eastern strip of Aragon and the Carche area in the Region of Murcia. The Catalan-speaking territories are often called the Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".

Middle High German

Middle High German

Middle High German is the term for the form of German spoken in the High Middle Ages. It is conventionally dated between 1050 and 1350, developing from Old High German and into Early New High German. High German is defined as those varieties of German which were affected by the Second Sound Shift; the Middle Low German and Middle Dutch languages spoken to the North and North West, which did not participate in this sound change, are not part of MHG.

Norwegian language

Norwegian language

Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. Along with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a dialect continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional varieties; some Norwegian and Swedish dialects, in particular, are very close. These Scandinavian languages, together with Faroese and Icelandic as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages. Faroese and Icelandic are not mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. While the two Germanic languages with the greatest numbers of speakers, English and German, have close similarities with Norwegian, neither is mutually intelligible with it. Norwegian is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Age.

Danish language

Danish language

Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by about six million people, principally in and around Denmark. Communities of Danish speakers are also found in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the northern German region of Southern Schleswig, where it has minority language status. Minor Danish-speaking communities are also found in Norway, Sweden, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.

Computing

Dual language Hebrew and English keyboard
Dual language Hebrew and English keyboard

With emerging markets and expanding international cooperation, business users expect to be able to use software and applications in their own language.[81] Multilingualisation (or "m17n", where "17" stands for 17 omitted letters) of computer systems can be considered part of a continuum between internationalization and localization:

  • A localized system has been adapted or converted for a particular locale (other than the one it was originally developed for), including the language of the user interface, input, and display, and features such as time/date display and currency; but each instance of the system only supports a single locale.
  • Multilingualised software supports multiple languages for display and input simultaneously, but generally has a single user interface language. Support for other locale features like time, date, number and currency formats may vary as the system tends towards full internationalization. Generally, a multilingual system is intended for use in a specific locale, whilst allowing for multilingual content.
  • An internationalized system is equipped for use in a range of locales, allowing for the co-existence of several languages and character sets in user interfaces and displays. In particular, a system may not be considered internationalized in the fullest sense unless the interface language is selectable by the user at runtime.

Translating the user interface is usually part of the software localization process, which also includes adaptations such as units and date conversion. Many software applications are available in several languages, ranging from a handful (the most spoken languages) to dozens for the most popular applications (such as office suites, web browsers, etc.). Due to the status of English in computing, software development nearly always uses it (but see also Non-English-based programming languages), so almost all commercial software is initially available in an English version, and multilingual versions, if any, may be produced as alternative options based on the English original.

The Multilingual App Toolkit (MAT)[82] was first released in concert with the release of Windows 8 as a way to provide developers a set of free tooling that enabled adding languages to their apps with just a few clicks, in large part due to the integration of a free, unlimited license to both the Microsoft Translator machine translation service and the Microsoft Language Platform service, along with platform extensibility to enable anyone to add translation services into MAT. Microsoft engineers and inventors of MAT, Jan A. Nelson, and Camerum Lerum have continued to drive development of the tools, working with third parties and standards bodies to assure broad availability of multilingual app development is provided.[83] With the release of Windows 10, MAT is now delivering support for cross-platform development for Windows Universal Apps as well as IOS and Android.

Internet

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Internationalization and localization

Internationalization and localization

In computing, internationalization and localization (American) or internationalisation and localisation, often abbreviated i18n and L10n, are means of adapting computer software to different languages, regional peculiarities and technical requirements of a target locale.

List of languages by number of native speakers

List of languages by number of native speakers

This article ranks human languages by their number of native speakers.

Web browser

Web browser

A web browser is application software for accessing websites. When a user requests a web page from a particular website, the browser retrieves its files from a web server and then displays the page on the user's screen. Browsers are used on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In 2020, an estimated 4.9 billion people used a browser. The most used browser is Google Chrome, with a 65% global market share on all devices, followed by Safari with 18%.

English in computing

English in computing

The English language is sometimes described as the lingua franca of computing. In comparison to other sciences, where Latin and Greek are often the principal sources of vocabulary, computer science borrows more extensively from English. In the past, due to the technical limitations of early computers, and the lack of international standardization on the Internet, computer users were limited to using English and the Latin alphabet. However, this historical limitation is less present today, due to innovations in internet infrastructure and increases in computer speed. Most software products are localized in numerous languages and the invention of the Unicode character encoding has resolved problems with non-Latin alphabets. Some limitations have only been changed recently, such as with domain names, which previously allowed only ASCII characters.

Non-English-based programming languages

Non-English-based programming languages

Non-English-based programming languages are programming languages that do not use keywords taken from or inspired by English vocabulary.

Languages used on the Internet

Languages used on the Internet

Slightly over half of the homepages of the most visited websites on the World Wide Web are in English, with varying amounts of information available in many other languages. Other top languages are Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Persian, French, German and Japanese.

English-speaking countries

According to Hewitt (2008) entrepreneurs in London from Poland, China or Turkey use English mainly for communication with customers, suppliers, and banks, but their native languages for work tasks and social purposes. Even in English-speaking countries immigrants are still able to use their mother tongue in the workplace thanks to other immigrants from the same place. Kovacs (2004) describes this phenomenon in Australia with Finnish immigrants in the construction industry who spoke Finnish during working hours.[84] Although foreign languages may be used in the workplace, English is still a key working skill. Mainstream society justifies the divided job market, arguing that getting a low-paying job is the best that newcomers can achieve considering their limited language skills.

Asia

With companies going international they are now focusing more and more on the English level of their employees. Especially in South Korea since the 1990s, companies are using different English language testing to evaluate job applicants, and the criteria in those tests are constantly upgrading the level for good English. Meanwhile, Japan ranks 53rd out of 100 countries in 2019 EF English Proficiency Index, amid calls for this to improve in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Within multiracial countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, it is not unusual for one to speak two or more languages, albeit with varying degrees of fluency.[85][86][87] Some are proficient in several Chinese varieties, given the linguistic diversity of the ethnic Chinese community in both countries.

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South Korea

South Korea

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia. It constitutes the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and shares a land border with North Korea. The country's western border is formed by the Yellow Sea, while its eastern border is defined by the Sea of Japan. South Korea claims to be the sole legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands. It has a population of 51.75 million, of which roughly half live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the world. Other major cities include Incheon, Busan, and Daegu.

Japan

Japan

Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north toward the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, and Taiwan in the south. Japan is a part of the Ring of Fire, and spans an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 377,975 square kilometers (145,937 sq mi); the five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa. Tokyo is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, and Kyoto.

EF English Proficiency Index

EF English Proficiency Index

The EF English Proficiency Index attempts to rank countries by the equity of English language skills amongst those adults who took the EF test. It is the product of EF Education First, an international education company, and draws its conclusions from data collected via English tests available for free over the internet. The index is an online survey first published in 2011 based on test data from 1.7 million test takers. The most recent edition was released in November 2022.

Malaysia

Malaysia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia, and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital, the country's largest city, and the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. The nearby planned capital of Putrajaya is the administrative capital, which represents the seat of both the executive branch and the judicial branch of the federal government. With a population of over 32 million, Malaysia is the world's 45th-most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia is in Tanjung Piai. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to numerous endemic species.

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bordering the Strait of Malacca to the west, the Singapore Strait to the south, the South China Sea to the east, and the Straits of Johor to the north. The country's territory is composed of one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet; the combined area of these has increased by 25% since the country's independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects. It has the third highest population density in the world. With a multicultural population and recognising the need to respect cultural identities of the major ethnic groups within the nation, Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. English is the lingua franca and numerous public services are available only in English. Multiracialism is enshrined in the constitution and continues to shape national policies in education, housing, and politics.

Africa

Not only in multinational companies is English an important skill, but also in the engineering industry, in the chemical, electrical and aeronautical fields. A study directed by Hill and van Zyl (2002) shows that in South Africa young black engineers used English most often for communication and documentation. However, Afrikaans and other local languages were also used to explain particular concepts to workers in order to ensure understanding and cooperation.[88]

Europe

A Welsh Government video of an English medium school in Wales, where introducing a second language (Welsh) has boosted the exam results.

In Europe, as the domestic market is generally quite restricted, international trade is a norm. Languages that are used in multiple countries include:

  • German in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Belgium
  • French in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra and Switzerland
  • English in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Malta.
  • Swedish in Sweden and Finland.
  • Italian in Italy and Switzerland.

English is a commonly taught second language at schools, so it is also the most common choice for two speakers, whose native languages are different. However, some languages are so close to each other that it is generally more common when meeting to use their mother tongue rather than English. These language groups include:

In multilingual countries such as Belgium (Dutch, French, and German), Finland (Finnish and Swedish), Switzerland (German, French, Italian and Romansh), Luxembourg (Luxembourgish, French and German) or Spain (Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician), it is common to see employees mastering two or even three of those languages.

Many minor Russian ethnic groups, such as Tatars, Bashkirs and others, are also multilingual. Moreover, with the beginning of compulsory study of the Tatar language in Tatarstan, there has been an increase in its level of knowledge of the Russian-speaking population of the republic.[89]

Continued global diversity has led to an increasingly multilingual workforce. Europe has become an excellent model to observe this newly diversified labor culture. The expansion of the European Union with its open labor market has provided opportunities both for well-trained professionals and unskilled workers to move to new countries to seek employment. Political changes and turmoil have also led to migration and the creation of new and more complex multilingual workplaces. In most wealthy and secure countries, immigrants are found mostly in low paid jobs but also, increasingly, in high-status positions.[90]

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Italian language

Italian language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family that evolved from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire. Together with Sardinian, Italian is the least divergent language from Latin. Spoken by about 85 million people (2022), Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, and Vatican City. It has official minority status in Croatia and in some areas of Slovenian Istria.

Danish language

Danish language

Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by about six million people, principally in and around Denmark. Communities of Danish speakers are also found in Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the northern German region of Southern Schleswig, where it has minority language status. Minor Danish-speaking communities are also found in Norway, Sweden, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.

Norwegian language

Norwegian language

Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. Along with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a dialect continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional varieties; some Norwegian and Swedish dialects, in particular, are very close. These Scandinavian languages, together with Faroese and Icelandic as well as some extinct languages, constitute the North Germanic languages. Faroese and Icelandic are not mutually intelligible with Norwegian in their spoken form because continental Scandinavian has diverged from them. While the two Germanic languages with the greatest numbers of speakers, English and German, have close similarities with Norwegian, neither is mutually intelligible with it. Norwegian is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Age.

Czech language

Czech language

Czech, historically also Bohemian, is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group, written in Latin script. Spoken by over 10 million people, it serves as the official language of the Czech Republic. Czech is closely related to Slovak, to the point of high mutual intelligibility, as well as to Polish to a lesser degree. Czech is a fusional language with a rich system of morphology and relatively flexible word order. Its vocabulary has been extensively influenced by Latin and German.

Slovak language

Slovak language

Slovak [ˈslɔʋentʂina], [ˈslɔʋenski ˈjazik] is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group, written in Latin script. It is part of the Indo-European language family, and is one of the Slavic languages, which are part of the larger Balto-Slavic branch. Spoken by approximately 5 million people as a native language, primarily ethnic Slovaks, it serves as the official language of Slovakia and one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.

Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia was a landlocked country in Central Europe, created in 1918, when it declared its independence from Austria-Hungary. In 1938, after the Munich Agreement, the Sudetenland became part of Germany, while the country lost further territories to Hungary and Poland. Between 1939 and 1945 the state ceased to exist, as Slovakia proclaimed its independence and the remaining territories in the east became part of Hungary, while in the remainder of the Czech Lands the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was proclaimed. In 1939, after the outbreak of World War II, former Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš formed a government-in-exile and sought recognition from the Allies.

Czechoslovak language

Czechoslovak language

The Czechoslovak language was a political sociolinguistic concept used in Czechoslovakia in 1920–1938 for the definition of the state language of the country which proclaimed its independence as the republic of two nations, i.e. ethnic groups, Czechs and Slovaks.

Serbian language

Serbian language

Serbian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official and national language of Serbia, one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and co-official in Montenegro and Kosovo. It is a recognized minority language in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Croatian language

Croatian language

Croatian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language used by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina, and other neighboring countries. It is the official and literary standard of Croatia and one of the official languages of the European Union. Croatian is also one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a recognized minority language in Serbia and neighboring countries.

Bosnian language

Bosnian language

Bosnian is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian pluricentric language mainly used by ethnic Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of three such varieties considered official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian. It is also an officially recognized minority language in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo.

Montenegrin language

Montenegrin language

Montenegrin is a normative variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Montenegrins and is the official language of Montenegro. Montenegrin is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian, more specifically on Eastern Herzegovinian, which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian.

Serbo-Croatian

Serbo-Croatian

Serbo-Croatian – also called Serbo-Croat, Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is a pluricentric language with four mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin.

Music

It is extremely common for music to be written in whatever the contemporary lingua franca is. If a song is not written in a common tongue, then it is usually written in whatever is the predominant language in the musician's country of origin, or in another widely recognized language, such as English, German, Spanish, or French.

The bilingual song cycles "there..." and "Sing, Poetry" on the 2011 contemporary classical album Troika consist of musical settings of Russian poems with their English self-translation by Joseph Brodsky and Vladimir Nabokov, respectively.[91]

Songs with lyrics in multiple languages are known as macaronic verse.[92]

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List of multilingual bands and artists

List of multilingual bands and artists

This is a list of multilingual bands and artists. The band's or artist's native language is listed first. The list itself may also contain some singers from all over the world whose first language is English and ability to sing in different languages.

Lingua franca

Lingua franca

A lingua franca, also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.

Troika (album)

Troika (album)

Troika: Russia's westerly poetry in three orchestral song cycles is a 2011 album of contemporary classical songs performed by soprano Julia Kogan, who also conceived the project. She is accompanied by The St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic conducted by Jeffery Meyer. The songs are set to Russian, English, and French language poetry by five classic Russian writers: Joseph Brodsky, Mikhail Lermontov, Vladimir Nabokov, Aleksandr Pushkin and Fyodor Tyutchev. Eight modern composers, from France, Russia, and the United States, wrote music for the album: Isabelle Aboulker, Ivan Barbotin, Eskender Bekmambetov, Jay Greenberg, James DeMars, Andrey Rubtsov, Michael Schelle and Lev Zhurbin.

Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky was a Russian and American poet and essayist.

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist, poet, translator, and entomologist. Born in Imperial Russia in 1899, Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian (1926–1938) while living in Berlin, where he met his wife. He achieved international acclaim and prominence after moving to the United States, where he began writing in English. Nabokov became an American citizen in 1945 and lived mostly on the East Coast before returning to Europe in 1961, where he settled in Montreux, Switzerland.

Macaronic language

Macaronic language

Macaronic language uses a mixture of languages, particularly bilingual puns or situations in which the languages are otherwise used in the same context. Hybrid words are effectively "internally macaronic." In spoken language, code-switching is using more than one language or dialect within the same conversation.

Literature

Fiction

Multilingual stories, essays, and novels are often written by immigrants and second generation American authors.[93][94] Chicana author Gloria E. Anzaldúa, a major figure in the fields Third World Feminism, Postcolonial Feminism, and Latino philosophy explained the author's existential sense of obligation to write multilingual literature.[95] An often quoted passage, from her collection of stories and essays entitled Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, states:

"Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate. I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue – my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence".[96]

Multilingual novels by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie display phrases in Igbo with translations, as in her early works Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. However, in her later novel Americanah, the author does not offer translations of non-English passages.[96] The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is an example of Chicano literature has untranslated, but italicized, Spanish words and phrases throughout the text.[97]

American novelists who use foreign languages (outside of their own cultural heritage) for literary effect, include Cormac McCarthy who uses untranslated Spanish and Spanglish in his fiction.[98]

Poetry

Multilingual poetry is prevalent in US Latino literature where code-switching and translanguaging between English, Spanish, and Spanglish is common within a single poem or throughout a book of poems.[99] Latino poetry is also written in Portuguese and can include phrases in Nahuatl, Mayan, Huichol, Arawakan, and other indigenous languages related to the Latino experience. Contemporary multilingual poets include Giannina Braschi, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, and Guillermo Gómez-Peña[100]

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Chicano

Chicano

Chicano, Chicana, or Chicanx is an identity for Mexican Americans who have a non-Anglo self-image. Chicano was originally a classist and racist slur used toward low-income Mexicans that was reclaimed in the 1940s among youth who belonged to the Pachuco and Pachuca subculture. In the 1960s, Chicano was widely reclaimed in the building of a movement toward political empowerment, ethnic solidarity, and pride in being of indigenous descent. Chicano developed its own meaning separate from Mexican American identity. Youth in barrios rejected cultural assimilation into whiteness and embraced their own identity and worldview as a form of empowerment and resistance. The community forged an independent political and cultural movement, sometimes working alongside the Black Power movement.

Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa was an American scholar of Chicana feminism, cultural theory, and queer theory. She loosely based her best-known book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, on her life growing up on the Mexico–Texas border and incorporated her lifelong experiences of social and cultural marginalization into her work. She also developed theories about the marginal, in-between, and mixed cultures that develop along borders, including on the concepts of Nepantla, Coyoxaulqui imperative, new tribalism, and spiritual activism.

Postcolonial feminism

Postcolonial feminism

Postcolonial feminism is a form of feminism that developed as a response to feminism focusing solely on the experiences of women in Western cultures and former colonies. Postcolonial feminism seeks to account for the way that racism and the long-lasting political, economic, and cultural effects of colonialism affect non-white, non-Western women in the postcolonial world. Postcolonial feminism originated in the 1980s as a critique of feminist theorists in developed countries pointing out the universalizing tendencies of mainstream feminist ideas and argues that women living in non-Western countries are misrepresented.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza is a 1987 semi-autobiographical work by Gloria E. Anzaldúa that examines the Chicano and Latino experience through the lens of issues such as gender, identity, race, and colonialism. Borderlands is considered to be Anzaldúa’s most well-known work and a pioneering piece of Chicana literature.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works include novels, short stories and nonfiction. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [which] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature", particularly in her second home, the United States.

Igbo language

Igbo language

Igbo is the principal native language cluster of the Igbo people, a meta-ethnicity from Southern Nigeria.

Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun is a novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published in 2006 by 4th Estate in London, the novel tells the story of the Biafran War through the perspective of the characters Olanna, Ugwu, and Richard.

Americanah

Americanah

Americanah is a 2013 novel by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for which Adichie won the 2013 U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Americanah tells the story of a young Nigerian woman, Ifemelu, who immigrates to the United States to attend university. The novel traces Ifemelu's life in both countries, threaded by her love story with high school classmate Obinze. It was Adichie's third novel, published on May 14, 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf. A television miniseries, starring and produced by Lupita Nyong'o, was in development for HBO Max, but then was later dropped.

Chicano literature

Chicano literature

Chicano literature is an aspect of Mexican-American literature that emerged from the cultural consciousness developed in the Chicano Movement. Chicano literature formed out of the political and cultural struggle of Chicana/os to develop a political foundation and identity that rejected Anglo-American hegemony. This literature embraced the pre-Columbian roots of Chicana/os.

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy is an American writer who has written twelve novels, two plays, five screenplays and three short stories, spanning the Western and post-apocalyptic genres. He is known for his graphic depictions of violence and his unique writing style, recognizable by a sparse use of punctuation and attribution. McCarthy is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary American writers.

Latino literature

Latino literature

Latino literature is literature written by people of Latin American ancestry, often but not always in English, most notably by Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Dominican Americans, many of whom were born in the United States.

Code-switching

Code-switching

In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation or situation. Code-switching is different from plurilingualism in that plurilingualism refers to the ability of an individual to use multiple languages, while code-switching is the act of using multiple languages together. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety. Code-switching may happen between sentences, sentence fragments, words, or individual morphemes. However, some linguists consider the borrowing of words or morphemes from another language to be different from other types of code-switching. There are many ways in which code-switching is employed, such as when a speaker is unable to express themselves adequately in a single language or to signal an attitude towards something. Several theories have been developed to explain the reasoning behind code-switching from sociological and linguistic perspectives.

Film

The 2021 Indian documentary film Dreaming of Words traces the life and work of Njattyela Sreedharan, a fourth standard drop-out, who compiled a multilingual dictionary connecting four major Dravidian languages Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.[101][102][103] Travelling across four states and doing extensive research, he spent twenty five years[104] making this multilingual dictionary.

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Dreaming of Words

Dreaming of Words

Dreaming of Words is a 2021 Indian documentary film directed and produced by Nandan. Dreaming of Words has received numerous accolades including National Film Award for Best Educational/Motivational/Instructional Film (2020) awarded to Nandan as both director and producer at the 68th National Film Awards. The documentary traces the life and work of Njattyela Sreedharan, a fourth standard drop-out, who compiles a dictionary connecting four major Dravidian languages.

Njattyela Sreedharan

Njattyela Sreedharan

Njattyela Sreedharan is a lexicographer from Thalassery in Kerala. He is known for compiling a dictionary connecting four major Dravidian languages Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

Dravidian languages

Dravidian languages

The Dravidian languages are a family of languages spoken by 250 million people, mainly in southern India, north-east Sri Lanka, and south-west Pakistan. Since the colonial era, there have been small but significant immigrant communities of speakers of those languages in Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada, Germany, South Africa, and the United States.

Malayalam

Malayalam

Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry by the Malayali people. It is one of 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam was designated a "Classical Language of India" in 2013. Malayalam has official language status in Kerala, and Puducherry (Mahé), and is also the primary spoken language of Lakshadweep, and is spoken by 34 million people in India. Malayalam is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the neighbouring states; with a significant number of speakers in the Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka, and Kanyakumari, district of Tamil Nadu. It is also spoken by the Malayali Diaspora worldwide, especially in the Persian Gulf countries, due to the large populations of Malayali expatriates there. They are a significant population in each city in India including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune etc.

Kannada

Kannada

Kannada, previously also known as Canarese, is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka in southwestern India, with minorities in all neighbouring states. It has around 47 million native speakers, and was additionally a second or third language for around 13 million non-native speakers in Karnataka.

Tamil language

Tamil language

Tamil is a Dravidian language natively spoken by the Tamil people of South Asia. Tamil is an official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the sovereign nations of Sri Lanka and Singapore, and the Indian territory of Puducherry. Tamil is also spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is also spoken by the Tamil diaspora found in many countries, including Malaysia, Myanmar, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia and Mauritius. Tamil is also natively spoken by Sri Lankan Moors. One of 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution of India, Tamil was the first to be classified as a classical language of India.

Telugu language

Telugu language

Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken by Telugu people predominantly living in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where it is also the official language. It is the most widely spoken member of the Dravidian language family and one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India. It is one of the few languages that has primary official status in more than one Indian state, alongside Hindi and Bengali. Telugu is one of six languages designated as a classical language by the Government of India.

Source: "Multilingualism", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 26th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilingualism.

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Notes
References
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