Bilingual, Trilingual, Or Polyglot?

With each passing day, the world is becoming more diverse in the fusion of cultures through food, religion, language and the use of the internet. The internet has become a gateway between communication between several countries around the world. However, the language barrier is the only thing that constrains the sharing of cultures. According to Internet World Stats, the top 6 languages used on the internet include English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and Japanese which accumulates to 2,203,433,477 people. Below you will find a minimized chart that shows exact number of internet users for the top 6 languages, a detailed chart of the top 10 languages can be found on this link.

Top 6 Languages

In the Internet

Internet Users by Language World Population for this Language (2015 Estimate)
English 851,623,892 1,398,277,986
Chinese 704,483,396 1,398,335,970
Spanish 245,150,733 441,778,696
Arabic 155,595,439 375,241,253
Portuguese 131,615,190 263,260,385
Japanese 114,963,827 126,919,659
Top 6 Languages 2,203,433,477 3, 876,894,564

If anyone decided to become bilingual (two languages), trilingual (three languages), quadrilingual (four languages) or a polyglot (5 to 7 languages or more) their opportunity to share ideas with other people would expand exponentially. Even knowing basic concepts or phrases in any particular language can be very beneficial, especially since the Internet offers us a larger opportunity to meet and communicate with people all around the world through the world wide web.

Start a New Language

Becoming fluent in any language takes time and practice through actual conversations. The best way to get started in any language is learn salutations and common phrases that are constantly used in everyday conversations, phrases such as good morning, thank you, and how are you. It expresses open-mindedness and courtesy to other people. The following links are free language sites that offer different tips on the top 6 languages. With the help of the world wide web, we can create connections by simply knowing courteous phrases.  

  • English: ESOL Courses offers several resources for practicing listening, grammar, vocabulary and even practice prompts for difference conversational scenarios.
  • Chinese: The Haiwang Yuang webpage offers phrases that include greetings, phrases used to express moments of leisure on dining, shopping, traveling, and even phrases on parenting.
  • Spanish: On the Spanish Phrases with Audio webpage is substantial amount of information on vocabulary, grammar, and the option of testing after studying each subject.
  • Arabic: Transparent Language only offers what they consider to be survival phrases (basic arabic phrases and salutations) and a word of the day. Transparent Language also offers similar guidelines for learning Korean.
  • Portuguese: The Learning Portuguese website offers tips and assistance on pronunciation, grammar, and practicing conversational Portuguese.
  • Japanese: CosCom is vast on offering information, but can be overwhelming. My advice is to stay on Words&Basics page and work your way around the site.

Each web page offers different tips and advice with a different set of rules. In compilation it can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate each site, but they were consistent in the choice of pronunciation and audio stemming from English translation.  

Once salutation has been introduced to a conversation, it can be easy to stem off with similar interest. That will provoke you to rely on an electronic translation device, but they can be unreliable sometimes. Several languages carry different grammatical structures and sometimes electronic translators don’t catch those differences. It can also miss jargon or slang.  The option of translating only fragments of a complex sentence would yield better results of translation. Easy ways to recognize those incorrect translations is simply knowing each languages noun and adjective placement.

Understanding Grammatical Differences

Take the difference between the grammatical structure of French and English on the use of nouns and adjectives for example.

  • French: “Certains pensent que la parité est un fait accompli.”
    • fait: masculine noun
    • accompli: masculine adjective
  • English: “Some think that gender equality is a done deal.”
    • done: invariable adjective
    • deal: genderless noun

In French the noun comes before the adjective, but in English the noun goes after the adjective.

Express Yourself

In my own experiences, I have met someone that spoke each of the languages mentioned above. Some of the people knew no English at all while others knew limited English. Although a full-blown conversation is very difficult to have with someone who knows limited English, it is still possible to show kindness, courtesy and understanding by simply expression salutations in another person’s language. So now when I think of hello in English, I also think of hola (Spanish), bonjour (French), assalamu alaikum (Arabic), konnichiwa (Japanese), and namaste (hindi).

An encounter can happen at any location and at any time. You can run into a new classmate at school, a client at work, at your local grocery store, and even online where someone does not speak fluently in English. Whatever the case may be, it is always helpful to have these resources in hand because it could open up mountains of possibilities. Do not allow language to become a boundary when all you need is a small list of words to light a spark between languages.. Best luck to all future polyglots!

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7 thoughts on “Bilingual, Trilingual, Or Polyglot?

  1. I think learning another language, or three, would be extremely helpful! I took Spanish in high school and haven’t had any language courses since then but I really wish I had kept up with it and really become fluent. A friend of mine is currently minoring in Chinese and I kind of thought that was silly but after seeing that Chinese is the second most popular language used on the internet, maybe it’s not such a silly language to learn? Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I wish I was fluent in so many languages! Your article reminds us of how many conversations we’re missing out on if we only speak one language, but you also show us how the web can open this up for us, and I appreciate your argument for learning step by step, phrase by phrase.

    And translation services are part of this growing multilingual conversation, but I wonder: what do you think about the built in translation services Google Chrome features? How much should we trust the browser’s ability to translate individual web pages?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always wondered about the lengths a person would have to take to be multilingual, especially for fluency in 5 or more (!) languages; I’ve taken courses in Spanish and French, but have admittedly forgotten most of what I’ve learned. In any case, I was fascinated to see the various statistics on language usage you provided in the article (I wasn’t surprised by the dominance of English and Chinese online usage, but didn’t know where other nations placed).

    While my linguistic capabilities are limited to English, I still think the overall concept of language is an extremely interesting topic, even “constructed” languages such as esperanto (more information here: http://www.esperanto.net/info/index_en.html). As I alluded to in my comment in Lynda’s article on coding’s status as a language, I wonder if (and how) linguistic patterns will change along with technological advancements (and vice-versa) within the coming decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Considering we love in a country where our flag and doctrine is supposed to stand for equality and justice among all human beings, I find it surprising that US schools have not made it a requirement to learn multiple languages of other cultures that come to the US. With so mu choices diversity, ai would expect more courses focusing on other cultures and how to integrate them within our schools and work places. I feel this approach would have made our country less racist as it would make everyone excited about learning other cultures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I lived in California when I was pre-school age, and I remember being taught Spanish before I knew how to tie my shoes. If we had stayed in California, I’m confident that I would have been fluent. Regardless, I’m glad I had this early experience in language learning!

    I think immersion is just as useful as vocabulary memorization when learning a new language, and I think part of that is just as you say: you only need a small amount of words to strike up a conversation. I’ve been helped along in my own language studies with apps like DuoLingo, but nothing helps reinforce what I’ve learned more that conversing with someone in the language.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spanish was the first language I learned and learned English at the age of 2 in California too. The opposite reaction was created by living with fluent Spanish speaking parents in an environment that was majority English in age of 4.
      I’ve also heard that DuoLingo is a good bilingual app. I might check it out for my own knowledge.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It used to be that learning another language was only necessary when traveling to another country; now it has become important to know a second language even if you never leave your own country because you’re liable to meet someone who speaks a different language in your city.

    I appreciate you emphasizing how powerful kindness and friendliness can be in meeting someone who does not speak the same language. It may be difficult to communicate if neither person knows each other’s language, but it can be easy to establish mutual respect with a few words, a gesture, or a smile.

    Like

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