Wednesday, 2 July 2008

speaking in tongues

have been again diverted by other happenings to write a long post. so will quickly mention a couple of things. i'll be on the "women's voices" radio show on planet fm being broadcast at 8.15pm tomorrow night. it's a more in-depth discussion about widows.

i found this release, a little too late, about a lecture that was held tonight on bilingualism. it was given by professor pauwels, professor of linguistics at the university of western australia. i'm sort of bilingual, in that i can speak passable urdu/hindi. just don't expect me to hold an in-depth political discourse in that language. i also studied french up to my second year of university. i can't speak it but i can understand quite a bit if it's written text. i also know a few phrases of arabic and a number of malay words.

the fact that this is unusual in nz is actually quite strange. most europeans speak at least three languages fluently. most indians as well, and many malaysians. in fact, in many parts of the world, bilingualism and multilingualism are pretty common. yet raise the issue with most nz'ers, and they think that learning 2 languages is too confusing for little children. in fact, that's not true. i've found from experience that children who grow up with 2 languages are quicker at learning other stuff.

the beauty of learning another language is that you learn another culture, as well as improving your knowledge of english. on top of that, it teaches you logic, memorisation, and self-expression. like the point made in the press release, it's important that we encourage bilingualism, to ensure that we don't lose languages in this age of globalisation.

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