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COMMUNICATION IN A MULTI-LINGUAL SOCIETY

  • 14 Pages
  • Published On: 1-12-2023

The essay to be framed is to understand the way communication in multi-lingual communities are maintained within the society to make them feel included in all social aspects. For this purpose, the essay is going to review, assess and evaluate personal knowledge regarding multi-lingual society and reflect them through significant theories regarding communication with people or child. The way language acquisition occurs and the impact of self-concepts along with social competence is to be discussed in relation to a setting. The importance of wider community for their inclusion in multi-lingual communication is to be discussed.

In the UK, according to the last language census in 2011, it is reported that 88 main languages excluding sign language other than the English language which is widely spoken and most officially used language in the country. It is mentioned that 4.2 million of the usual UK residents aged 3 years and above are involved in speaking main language as English and 22,000 or less are involved in knowing and speaking sign language (oxford.gov.uk, 2011). However, it is mentioned that nearly 70% of the proficient people in English expressed understanding of 78 out of 88 languages other than English being spoken in the UK. Moreover, 90% of the people with knowledge of English were seen to be proficient in knowing 35 out of 88 main languages identified in the UK to be spoken other than English (ons.gov.uk, 2011). Thus, it can be assessed that apart from English in the UK, the people show proficiency in less than half of the other languages indicating multilingualism thought present in the country but not widely supported for all languages which may create non-acceptance of few communities who speak those languages only.

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The language census in UK further surveyed a minimum of 300 population to determine ten key languages with highest proportion been spoken other than English by the people who are proficient in English. It revealed that 99.4% have proficiency in Afrikaans followed by Welsh (99%), Swedish (99%), Danish (98.8%), Norther European Language (98.7%), Shona (98.4%), Finnish (98.4%), Dutch (97.8%) and Filipino (97.7%) (ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk, 2018). However, the language census in 2011 further revealed main languages expect English spoken in the lowest proportion by people who are proficient in English in the UK are Gypsy (37.5%), Pakistani (55.2%), Vietnamese (58.3%), Chinese (61%), Yiddish (62.2%), Punjabi (67.6%), Roman (68.7%), Bengali (69.6%), Turkish (69.9%) and Latvian (70.8%) (ons.gov.uk, 2011). This indicates that Gypsy followed by Vietnamese and Pakistani is the key language that is rarely spoken in the UK of the 88 other languages identified to be used in the country other than English.

The multi-lingual society is the one in which more than one language is spoken either by individual speakers or group of people. It is estimated that in the world the number of multi-lingual speakers is outnumbered by monolingual speakers (Meier, 2017). This is advantageous because increased multi-lingual speakers would indicate a single person is able to communicate with wider number of people at the workplace and ensure diversity (Mosienko et al., 2021). However, lack of multilingualism would create bridge in communication with people from diverse community in turn avoiding development of harmony and collaborative working in the society (Meier, 2017). The discussion regarding the communication in the multi-lingual community is important because it allows understanding the factors responsible and ways used by new people of different communities speaking different languages to interact with one another (Gross, 2017). However, failure to discuss regarding communication in the multi-lingual community would create hindrance in understanding how cultures share their knowledge about unique and important customs to be adopted by other (Curdt-Christiansen and Lanza, 2018).

The discussion regarding multi-lingual communication is also important as it helps to determine the competitive advantage availed by people speaking more than one language in the society (Zagorodnova et al., 2019). Thus, it can be reviewed that multi-lingual communication help multi-lingual people to be able to communicate with increased individuals compared to monolingual people. In the European countries, communication with the multi-lingual societies is a norm as in the contemporary world people from different countries are seen to migrate to Europe for various purposes. This leads them to live in the continent making native people of all age required to have multi-lingual abilities to engage in interaction with foreigners or migrators to maintain cultural openness and support globalisation (Gazzola et al., 2020). This leads to the evaluation that being multi-lingual provide opportunity to the people to communicate with people overseas and develop business with them to create a better globalised market in the country.

The multi-lingual speakers are considered to have acquired as well as maintained at least one language in their childhood which is called the first language that is also their mother tongue usually acquired without the need of formal education. The other languages learned by them is to be considered during progressing higher education in their formal learning (Nasution, 2018). Thus, it can be reviewed that multilinguistic people are usually monolingual at birth but with additional interest in learning other languages they gradually become multilingual. The historical context of the languages used for communication in the UK mentions that English is the most widely spoken language in the country from the beginning of the era. However, few regional languages are also widely spoken in the UK such as Roman, Celtic, German, British Isles and others (Gazzola et al., 2020). Thus, UK can usually be considered to be monolingual country where English is the key language as the other languages spoken are in very less number and known to be least used (oxford.gov.uk, 2011).

The history regarding multi-lingual communities present in the UK revealed in 2011 census is that 72.4% Polish, 67.6% Punjabi, 76.5% Urdu, 69.9% Bengali, 76.3% Gujrati, 82.4% Arabic, 94.3% French, 75.4% Chinese, 80.8% Portuguese and 89.6% Spanish people are living in the country (ons.gov.uk, 2011). This indicates that French people are the highest proportion of multi-lingual individuals living in the UK followed by Spanish and Arabic. In England and Wales, it is seen that out of the 8.5 million population aged 3-15 years, nearly 8 million (94%) of them are proficient in English and it is their main languages (ons.gov.uk, 2011). This indicates that majority of the children and young people in the UK are proficient in English with few of them showing non-proficiency. Thus, it can be evaluated that English is the single language been widely accepted in UK and the multilingual context in the country is not widely accepted. In respect to multi-lingual in the UK, it is revealed that 38% of the UK individual show ability to speak in one language other than English, 18% proficiency in 2 languages, and 6% proficiency in three languages apart from English. It is also revealed that 62% of the citizens in the UK are unable to speak any other language apart from English (oxford.gov.uk, 2011). This indicates that majority of people in the UK are monolingual who have proficiency only in English.

The setting for the discussion of multi-lingual communication in the UK uses a school that is the Europa School located in Abingdon, UK. In the Abingdon, UK, it is seen that 80% of the people speak English with 1% speaking French, 0.2% speaking Spanish, 1% German and others are in negligible numbers (oxford.gov.uk, 2011). This indicates that French, German and Spanish are the key languages spoken in the area apart from English indicating many belong from Spain, France and Germany to be present in the area. The Europa School, UK supports learning with English as first language and allows learning of Spanish, German and French as secondary languages for the children in the school which is effective to build a multi-lingual society. This is because the Europa School supports teaching of students in English as well as take effective initiative in educating them additional language which are prominently spoken other than English in the area allowing the people of those origins while away from the country and others in the area to learn their language in turn helping to build a multi-lingual community in the area (europaschooluk.org, 2021).

The educational setting to support learning of child’s home language require to have potential multi-lingual teaching staffs in the settings. This is significant as they take the responsibility out of their skills in making the children introduce, learn and aware of the intricacies of the language and boost them in adopting speaking and writing the language at home and with friends (Chiabaka and Chumbow, 2018). In the Europa School, it is seen that they have well-equipped and talented multilingual staff who have knowledge regarding French, Spanish and German apart from English. They are seen to teach those languages to the children based on their cultural origin and home language to make them develop multi-lingual abilities from early childhood (Wilmes et al., 2018). However, lack of multi-lingual staffs in education settings hinder supporting the home language learning of the children. This is because the existing teacher are unaware and not knowledgeable of the way the home language is to be taught to the children, in turn, making the children fail to forget their language of origin while living in the foreign country (Chiabaka and Chumbow, 2018).

An educational setting to support children’s home language required to arrange and provide reading materials such as books in home language within the settings. This is significant because the books help the children to relate, explore and learn their home language through stories, poems and others (Perez and Masegosa, 2020). In the Europa School, books of different types though in limited numbers are found to be present in Spanish, German and French to create opportunity of the existing children of such language background in home to use them in further learning and exploring their native language (europaschooluk.org, 2021). However, the lack of books as resources that include content in different languages spoken by children at home other than English does not support their learning process. This is because books doe not only provide content regarding the language but also led the children understand the shape and grammar regarding the language to develop efficiency in communicating through the language and become multi-linguistic (Kirsch et al., 2020).

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The home language or other to be acquired by the children or others required to follow certain steps which can be explained through theories. One of the theories of language acquisition is Nativist language acquisition theory which hypothesised that learning of language is an innate and fundamental part of the people and it occurs through natural experience. It mentions that children are seen to born with internal ability in organising language that enables them to easily learn their native language (Hopkins, 2017). According to this theory, it can be stated that Europa School supporting learning of children’s home language is achieving success because the children are already born with innate ability to learn their native language and the support provided is allowing them progress. However, the view is contrasted by Skinner theory of language acquisition which mentions that children are able to learn language through operant condition. This is means they learn language when they receive rewards for using the language in functional manner (Johnson et al., 2017). It is true as the Europa School mentions that children wish to learn more regarding their home language in Europa School because they feel rewarded by the grandparents who appreciate them for using native language at home.

The multi-lingual condition or native language acquisition lead the children to develop social competence in interacting with relatives, friends and families. This is because learning of native language leads the children to get along well with others in the family who lack knolwdege regarding common language spoken in the country (Li et al., 2020). For example, if a child with native family from France is multi-lingual in the UK and know how to speak French apart from English, then the child would have social competence in communicating effectively with his/her grandparents who known only French. This would lead the child to be close to the relatives as she can speak in native language to understand and participate in the conversation been executed in the family in native home where no English is been spoken.

The learning of native language leads children to develop social competence of being close to relatives and family members. This is because the children prove that being in foreign land have not led them to forget their native origin and they respect their language by learning and internalising it to be used to form close communication with their relatives (Nowrin et al., 2019). In addition, the relatives who lack knolwdege regarding English do not require to worry regarding translating the information from native language to other. This in turn avoids creating language barrier within the family and allows the children to easily form close bond with their native family members (Nowrin et al., 2019). For example, a child with multi-lingual ability of speaking both in Urdu and English while living in the UK with native family from Pakistan would easily understand and bond through communication with the native family. This is because the family in Pakistan do not need to find hardship is determining and changing the phrases used during interacting from Urdu to English, making the child easily bond with the family.

The self-concept of the learner has a key role in supporting learning of any language. This is because language mainly belongs to the social being of the person meaning language acts as their identity and it is used by them to convey their identities in the society (Moyer, 2018). The individual if have the self-concept that they lack knolwdege regarding native language and it is responsible in creating social as well as relationship barriers in the family and friend circle, then they would like to involve in learning their native language. This is because such concept makes the individual doubt their ability to interact with closed ones and they wish to fulfil the gap to overcome the barrier created in the communication process due to lack of information about native language (Hofer and Jessner, 2019). For example, if a child having native family from India and finds hard to communicate with them by speaking only in English, the child would intent to learn Hindi or any other language that is natively spoken by the family. This is because the would intend to form bond with the family to learn regarding native culture. Moreover, the self-concept of the individual regarding advantage of learning native language influences them to involve in educating them regarding the language. This is because their personal though of the advantage acts as their motivation to avail the benefit by learning the native language (Moyer, 2018).

In multi-lingual society, the important of inclusion of the wider communities is that it allows position for each community irrespective of their minority status have similar exposure in the society to put forward their points and creates existence of their language as well as culture (Meier, 2017). Thus, the community inclusion by forming multi-lingual society led to support civil rights of all individuals. Moreover, it ensures creating a better belonging for all the community and accept differences in forming a diverse society where people speaking all languages are equally respected (Luo and Shenkar, 2017). However, the inclusion of wider communities in multi-lingual society is also important as it creates motivation for learning of new native languages that are unknown to the people (Pérez-Llantada, 2018). This indicates that multi-lingual community inclusion in the society creates opportunity of learning more than single language which could be used in interacting with wider individuals without knowledge of English and value their presence.

The wider community inclusion helps to identify better representatives who can participate in educating the native languages to individuals in the society in an effective manner (Agarwal et al., 2020). However, failure of community inclusion in building multilingual society would create loss of many native languages to be learned and force many native people from other countries to forget their own native existence (Pérez-Llantada, 2018). Thus, multi-lingual society helps in creating best practices with the help of best representative to let the native languages live in any country. The importance of inclusion of wider communicates in multi-lingual society is that it creates opportunity to create better understanding of cultural and language diversity, in turn, allowing to build a bridge of trust and respect for one another where all individual irrespective of their linguistic nature live in harmony (Agarwal et al., 2020).

The social acceptance of multi-lingual society would benefit in creating an environment where new people from different native countries can meet and interact with one another for sharing valuable cultural and social information without hesitation. The learned information can be applied in life to live in a better way (Nurjanah and Arifin, 2018). Moreover, the social acceptance of multi-lingual society would create a social condition where all languages are equally respected irrespective of their origin in turn intending to create harmony and close relationship between communities in the society and avoid discrimination (Nurjanah and Arifin, 2018). It would also promote opportunity of business between communities and enhance trade as the language barriers would be resolved (Nurjanah and Arifin, 2018).

The presence of effective communication impacts the wider community by building trust and confidence in themselves (Ye et al., 2017). This is because communication leads to empower members in the wider community to interact with one another and develop provision of sharing personal and relevant information in addressing any needs of community development (Shahzalal and Hassan, 2019). It is important for practitioners to communicate effectively in building an inclusive environment. This is because it is only through interaction the practitioners can determine the challenges and barriers to be faced in making inclusive community and way goals and resources are to be set and used in overcoming them (Seubert et al. 2018).

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The above discussion informs that English is the key language been spoken for ages within the UK. However, due to migration, many linguistic communities who do not specifically speak English as their native language are present in the UK. Among them, the majority include French, German, Polish, Italian, Danish, Swedish and others. The Europa School located in Abingdon, UK is the setting where multi-lingual communication is been explored. It is found that the school to support formation of multi-lingual individuals support children in learning their home language by providing them books and potentially educated staffs to train them in the language. The importance of supporting multi-lingual condition is that it helps native children living in foreign countries to avoid facing language barriers in interacting with their family members, in turn, intending to form a close bond. The benefit of multi-lingual society is that it creates diversified, inclusive and harmonious to be maintained with all irrespective of the language spoken by them. The self-concept and expectations of the individuals act as motivation for people to involve in multiple learning of language.

The recommendation developed from above study is that the teachers in the Europa School required to arrange word games to further motivate the children in better learning different languages that are French, Spanish and German. This is because children more effectively develop knowledge regarding any aspect through playing as it makes them feel fun in learning the facts rather than boredom a felt during theoretical education. The other recommendation is that the Europa School require to arrange field trips where the children learning different language other than English. This means that for instance children are to be taken to any nearby Spanish community to interact with local people to determine their efficiency in using the learned language and identify vocabularies that are yet to be learned.

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