I met an elder woman who spoken “broken” English. I found out that she had lived in one country; married a man from another country, moved there, and learned that language; moved to a third country where they learned its language and raised their children; and then moved to the USA and learned English.
I was on a bus in rural Peru. A young boy who was about five years old spoke to me but I did not understand him. His mother told him to speak to me in Spanish, he changed languages, and then he and I talked. This five year from a rural area could speak two languages and his Spanish was much better than mine!
How can we be global citizens if we only speak one language? English is not the most widely spoken language in the world. Chinese is. If our students are monolingual, then they will not be students of the 21st century.
Today’s technology can help us learn another language. With satellite TV, shows can be found from many language groups. DVDs are in multi-language format. There are many language sites on line. With Skype and other videoconferencing resources, we can talk to people of that language area. If you once learned French, Spanish, German, Italian, or a non-European language, you can refresh your skills. Try out your skills whenever you have a chance. Encourage your children to learn another language so that they can speak with others!
Let’s make it a resolution to become at least bilingual! Let’s really become global!
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007