I have been doing a bit of thinking about bilingual children. Not having had the experiences that the blog writer Olga Mecking has had, it can be hard to imagine what it takes to have a kid in a bilingual environment. Are you a parent - and how many languages do you have your child surrounded with? If you've ever felt the little pang of guilt at the international environment your toddler could be thrown into (but isn't, because most of us are in monolingual couples), why not learn a new language WITH them? No one ever said that you have to be better than your baby when you are teaching them something. In fact, most of the time you just assume that you are - so language learning is no exception here!
If you aren't sure why bilingual might be good for you..
You know I love a good infographic here on the blog, and the fab creation I am sharing today lists all those fab reasons why there is more than just prestige to be gained when you go bilingual. Have a look..
Grass = always greener
For me, the most surprising new fact was the point that bilingual countries like Belgium actually encourage monolingualism in schools. That's pretty much the opposite of the UK's strong push towards any kind of exposure to other languages at an early age. The interesting picture that emerges is this: Monolingual environments lack inspiration and motivation for students to pick up a language, so the schools try to create them.
In countries which promote several languages as routine, the thing that's considered missing is a push towards focus and vocabulary - so the opposite becomes true and students are actually encouraged to work in just one language. How nice to see that each of the cultures appreciates the strengths of each other's main characteristic...in a way.
Learn a language for your health
I also liked the often-quoted link between brain youth (or absence of Dementia) and language skills. Like dieting (a comparison I am pretty partial to), I can't imagine that the health benefits of multilingual life are a particularly hot motivator. But just look at the picture this bunch of fact paints when you put it all together: Being proficient in another language means higher earnings potential, more job opportunities and better health.
May I add that it's fun, too?