Introduce multilingualism: YOU are influenced by it!
Multilingualism is a growingly outstanding phenomenon looming large in the modern world. During the last several decades, several significant factors, including the two world wars, have greatly changed the population structure of the world. The development of technology also made the international communication and transportation possible to the public, creating opportunities for people who wish to work and live in another country. It is a human nature to live with the people who share a culture background with themselves. Therefore, it is common that immigrants, voluntary or involuntary, occupy a district in a foreign country and form a smaller and more “closed” featuring a distinct culture and language. On one hand, in some societies people tend to preserve their own language along with the culture they inhibited; on the other hand, they need to communicate with “outsiders” of the community and emerge into the larger society. Several distinct patterns of social multilingualism are developed among those multi culture and multilingual societies all over the world. In Ivy’s narrative, she found it both necessary and easy to learn a “localized” language in order to communicate with friends; in Kelvin’s narrative, he found the learning of English made him unable to inherit his own Hispanic culture. In order to understand how the multilingual society works, researchers conducted case studies all over the world. From smaller neighborhoods in America to the exile governments with a huge population, from the early French colonial rule in America to the modern international district, from the multilingual structure to inter-culture lifestyle, a wide range of topics has attracted scholars to conduct researches in different levels. Here I will highlight some books and collections to summarize their view on how multilingual practice influence the residents of a society in multiple aspects, and sometimes how people in the society contribute and affect the way people use different languages in the same time. Perhaps this will help us to understand why Ivy's friends in Shenzhen persist to use Cantonese, and how Kelvin's learning of English compromised his Spanish skills.
Shenzhen: Putonghua(Mandarin) + Cantonese
Lawrence, Massachusetts: English or Spanish?!