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| || | namely that multi-lingual people probably have a much better experiential grasp on certain semiotic aspects than those who only speak one language (*cough cough* like most of us from the U.S. *cough cough*)... not to mention that multi-lingual people also have a wider view of 'reality' (at least as it is delineated by language). | |
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yes, I agree, to be "multi-lingual" has its benefits:
* You can experience different ways of constructing "reality"
- Assumption 1: Realities are sign- and media-based constructions both in the mental and in the social dimensions.
- Assumption 2: We deal only with such media-/sign-based reality constructions. That is, we - as humans - don`t know how the world really is without media and signs. We simply don`t know.
[BTW, that`s the reason why it`s very hard to say for us how animals can coordinate their behavior because we have to use our own semiotic / media experiences].
This affects the "participatory universe"-position, too. And, maybe, we should confront a difference-based and operational constructivism that can be found in deconstruction / sociological systems theory with the "participatory universe"-approach. This could be a "highly" interesting discussion!
* Learning other languages is always a "cultural enrichment", too. Things that are "evident" in your own network of (sub)cultures can be non-evident in foreign cultural networks = the benefit of deautomatization and defamiliarization.
* Moreover, multi-lingual/-cultural experiences may help in dealing with individual and social problems. That is, they can improve your problem-solving skills as a social troubleshooter, teamworker, etc.
* Itīs a "creative adventure" [culture shocks included :-)] where you have to leave your comfort zone.
At the same time, a language (such as English, French, German, etc.) isnīt a "uniform entity". It ressembles rather a network of variants (that is, a variety of professional jargons, sociolects, dialects, and so on). And national cultures are heterogeneous, too: Every family / group / organization / town / region / country / (ethnic) minority develops their own culture or, at least, cultural "style". So, even native speakers are always confronted with a "network" of languages / language variants and a "network" of cultures within their dominant national (meta-)culture.
But, it`s an interesting question why Americans and Brits (and, in my experience,
French, too -> I`ve lived in France for some time) are often less eager to learn foreign languages than, for example, a lot of Scandinavians, Dutch, or Germans [Of course, this is both a generalization and a cultural stereotype: I`ve known several Americans who were fluent, for example, in French or German. And, I know enough Germans who aren`t fluent in English at all, esp. older people or people without an academic degree]:
First, I think many native speakers of English believe it isnīt "really" necessary to learn foreign languages because English is "the lingua franca" in the world right now. Therefore, you often can expect to get by with English-only in foreign countries. And, in many cases, that may be true.
Second, the US is vast in comparison with Western / Eastern Europe (with the exception of Russia). So, Central Europeans have "a lot" of different neighbors within reach. And it`s relatively easy to say, "Hey, let`s go to Paris, London, Milan, Florence, Geneva, Prague, etc. today". This is a big incentive for us as tourists, business people, etc. to learn foreign languages - and, with the Euro zone, it`s easier than ever before in European history to work in other European countries, too.
Third, I think the US has so many different immigrant groups with very different traditions and cultures that English serves as a "primary link" between them. If every single immigrant group had preserved only their native language, traditions, and cultures, well, there would never have been something like the "US".
But I wonder if the US can put up with two main languages in the future because Spanish is getting more and more important (-> Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the US, arenīt they?).
That`s it for today. Iīll get back to you tomorrow and answer the rest of your
Have a nice weekend