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Ethan

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Does the future of education lie in bilingualism? Is it even possible?

Hi everyone, I have been pondering for some time as to the role of language in cross-cultural interactions. As a bilingual, I have had the privilege of conversing across cultures to try and understand people from different perspectives. To me, language isn't just a medium of communication; it is a passport that grants people access to cultural knowledge.

I am also keenly aware, however, that imposing mandatory learning of a secondary language on the masses will provoke resistance and discomfort. More importantly, it seems to me that most people speak and think in a master language; that is, the language that they use in daily conversations, and the medium from which they interpret the sciences and the humanities. In that sense, few people can claim to be equally fluent in 2 or more languages.

So it is both uncomfortable and difficult to introduce bilingualism/multilingualism en masse, which leads me to some huge dilemmas:

Should we teach all children 2 languages?

Do you think it would eventually result in some form of cultural erosion as one's original master language is less spoken?

Would we end up in some sort of grey area whereby many children who cannot cope with bilingualism retains no master language at all?

And finally, would a bilingual world be a better place? (Forget world peace, what about cultural diversity??)

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    Dec 1 2011: I know 3 languages - English, Russian and Hebrew and I live in Canada, so my mainly used language is English, Russian is at home with my family. Russian is 99% spoken, very little written or reading in Russian, I left Russia 20 years ago so its kinda tough. Hebrew - I use even less, only when I chat with my friend from Israel.

    Now my view on languages, in order for the world to communicate efficiently and effectively we all should adopt Esperanto. Every single school in the world teaches Esperanto and the local native language. Every single person in this world would be able to go anywhere in the world and communicate with every person they meet. I dont see the downfall of the idea.

    You want to study, in addition to your native language (ie French), German - go ahead why not. But you still know Esperanto which gives you the basis for communication. Is it a language that would be able to enrich you culturally about every single country - no. But it would guide you to the right direction and give you a base in learning the country's native language.

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