The Importance Of Bilingualism

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There are approximately 323.95 million people in the United States of America, about half of the population speaks more than one language.
In order to have knowledge on language and learning language it is important to clarify the meaning behind bilingualism. According to Espada bilingualism is far more than the ability to speak more than one language. As he understands it bilingualism represents the ability and freedom to speak multiple languages while also maintaining one's original language, culture and identity. Espada says that choosing to speak spanish and fighting for spanish rights “must reflect the experience of that community” if he has hope to communicate (13). The connection between language and community is essential, one is able to obtain culture, history, and personal identity. Rodriguez further interprets the idea of bilingualism by explaining how there are two separate languages, private and public. Rodriguez argues that while the public language (english) pries at cultural ties it is more practical (than a private language (spanish)) for everyday use and is essential to having a public identity. His definition of bilingualism also means that the private life and sense of “closeness” and familiarity was going to be “diminished” (24). Martin Espada explains in his essay, The New Bathroom Policy at English High School, how this country discriminates against spanish and Latinos. In a way he relates the inability to understand the opposite language to young kids keeping secrets from each other. Whispering things only certain people can hear. As a child or even an adult being the one who doesn’t know the secret can often make you feel left out or wonder if the secret is about you. Many people would do just about anything to know the secret. In the story about a school cafeteria the lunchroom aide overheard students speaking in Spanish, he concluded that they must have been talking about the other students who couldn't understand them. This resulted in the successful ban of Spanish at lunch time. Espada explains that “many Anglos assume that the only reason Latinos speak Spanish... is to say diabolical things about those same Anglos” (8). This type of discrimination is evident throughout many

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