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By Colin Baker

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Extra resources for A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, No 5)

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However, as the global village rises and trade barriers fall, bilinguals and multilinguals may be in a relatively strong position in the race for employment. Apart from social, cultural, economic, personal relationship and communication advantages, research has shown that bilinguals have the chance of some advantages in thinking. g. 'kitchen' in English and 'cuisine' in French). This means that the link between a word and its concept is usually looser. Sometimes corresponding words in different languages have different connotations.

One barrier between nations and ethnic groups tends to be language. Language is sometimes a barrier to communication and to creating friendly relationships. Bilinguals in the home, in the community and in society can lower such barriers. Bilinguals can be bridges within the nuclear and extended family, within the community and across societies. Those who speak one language symbolize that essential difference between animals and people. Those who speak two languages symbolize the essential humanity of building bridges between peoples of different color, creed, culture and language.

For children, being bilingual or monolingual may affect their identity, social arrangements, schooling, employment, marriage, area of residence, travel and thinking. Becoming bilingual is more than owning two languages. Bilingualism has educational, social, economic, cultural and political consequences. There are many advantages and very few disadvantages in becoming bilingual. A bilingual has the chance of communicating with a wider variety of people than a monolingual. When traveling in a country, in neighboring countries and in international travel, bilingual children have the distinct advantage that their languages provide bridges to new relationships.

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