Bilingual Upbringing - of Children in the Home
Is monolingualism really the normal way of life, as it is widely believed above all in the western world? And is bi- or multilingualism consequently the rare exception? Certainly it is more or less true for countries like Germany but for the world as a whole we get a different view. Multilingualism is moulding the way of life for hundreds of millions of people all over the globe. There are thousands of languages (estimates vary from 2,000 to 5,000) and only about 200. There is a slight drawback in this kind of argumentation, which can be found in many books dealing with languages. If there are more then one languages spoken in one country, does it necessarily mean that the people living there are multilingual? Most certainly not! Switzerland with her four languages is a good example: There are lots of bilinguals in Switzerland, but the monolinguals are predominant. But there are enough countries especially in Africa and Asia, where multilingulism is quite common.