Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fighting Monolingualism

A belief that I have held from a very young age is that monolingualism is a bad thing.  Growing up in a very monolingual environment, the usual response to me saying how important I thought language learning was "But everyone speaks English!".  My initial attempts to learn foreign languages were also unsuccessful, as evidenced by the following conversation that occurred several times throughout my childhood (apparently I had hopes that the answers would magically change). 

Young Shedding: Mama, Pa, you should speak to me in a language other than English so I grow up bilingual!
Mama and Pa: We don't know any languages other than English
Young Shedding: Well, where are our ancestors from? I'll learn that language!
Mama and Pa: Um, England. 

You can imagine how delighted I was when I got to university, and discovered via Intro to Linguistics that monolingualism is actually not the norm for most of the world, and it is actually countries like the US that are abnormal rather than me. 

1 comment:

  1. It cracks me up to imagine Little Shedding having this conversation with her parents. I can imagine exactly how it would sound!

    I wonder what your career and life would be like now, had your parents informed you that you were of Welsh background?