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Relation between multilingualism, language acquisition

Relation between multilingualism, language acquisition
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Relation between multilingualism, language acquisition

Highlights

The empirical research on topics like cognition, bilingualism and memory has been increasing since the last two decades. Earlier it was believed that bilingualism and multilingualism were considered as cognitive disadvantage.

The empirical research on topics like cognition, bilingualism and memory has been increasing since the last two decades. Earlier it was believed that bilingualism and multilingualism were considered as cognitive disadvantage. Because bilingual or multi-lingual children might score on lower on scholastic tests. Multilingualism as mentioned in the findings said to be "" the problem of the bilingual child and "' one of the chief factors in producing mental retardation. However, the recent studies viewed bilingualism or multilingualism as an advantage to grow cognition. Cognition as we all know is about increasing attention, metalinguistic awareness, working memory and problem solving. The recent research studies did not make a difference between bilingualism and multilingualism in terms of scoring higher results; the terms used are interchangeable.

In book, "World English: A study of its development, the author says, English is, by its nature, a language of multilingualism and multilingual, and English has established itself alongside of the languages in many speech communities around the world.

Our country is a multilingual country. It has 29 states and 7 Union territories. Many languages are spoken here. The regional languages occupy a very important place in concerned states. The Language policy in Andhra Pradesh, the regional language, 'Telugu occupies the first place – the same is followed in Telangana State.

Hindi, as we all know occupies the national language, English as the important foreign language occupies the third place. The southern states did not accept it in the place of English as link language. Hence English still occupies a very important place in India and plays a vital role in the school programme. It has been given the status of an associate official language of the country.

Multilingual classrooms in TS: Apart from primary, upper primary and high schools, Telangana has International schools and the schools with ICSE syllabus. We find mother tongue medium schools having monolinguals. The teacher and the students, parents share the same language. In private schools we see students coming from different language background. In Ranga Reddy district we see the establishment of IT companies allowing all the educated, semi educated citizens of India to come and make a living.

The Role of the teacher in creating multilingual classroom: It does not matter whether we have multilingual or mono lingual classroom – All that matters is about how we view the English? English as a Pedagogy for the construction and dissemination of knowledge? Or A language that links cultures and Cognition? Curriculum has a role to play! A teacher has a role to play!

(The author is an Assistant Professor of Education at Dr BROAU, Hyderabad)

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