The Influence Of Language And Bilingualism

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Language is one of the most powerful factors behind the influence of social behavior. Language is used – socially – to transfer information about who we are, where we come from, and who we associate with. One may be shocked to realize just how much we – as a society – tend to judge someone’s background, character, and intentions based solely on an individual’s language, dialect, or even the choice of a single word. The study of language contact focuses on how speakers of differing languages can influence one another’s speech – as well as – the origin and linguistic composition of pidgin and creole languages. These special languages form when speakers of two or more mutually unintelligible language groups need to develop a common language for …show more content…
Individuals (or even the society as a whole) occasionally decide to stop speaking said language in an attempt to avoid the social stigma of being a part of the lesser group. However, some individuals resist having their linguistic identity taken away from them; only working harder to preserve, protect, and develop their traditional language. Wherever and whenever languages come in contact with one another, there is a greater need for at least some individuals to become bilingual. Bilingualism at the societal level is of great interest to linguist who wish to know how communities – as a whole – determine who speaks what language to whom, and when. Most societies in the today’s world are multilingual; a great example of this is The Vaupes River Basin language family, in which, it was not uncommon for children to speak 3-5 languages, while adults spoke 7-10 languages at varying levels of proficiency. The members of The Vaupes River Basin also promote bilingualism and multilingualism by being one of the few societies that expect you to marry outside of your family’s native …show more content…
Language history involves a combination of gradual evolution and sudden changes brought forth by various forms of language contact. Occasionally, language contact between different speech communities can lead to linguistic divergence (meaning contact may only maintain or possibly elevate issues involving linguistic differences). It is not uncommon for neighboring tribes to deliberately attempt to alter their languages to further differ it from the speech of other neighboring tribes. And thus, language contact may even trigger a desire to be different and could even motivate deliberate changes in native speech patterns. Similarly, language contact can lead to linguistic convergence (or an increase in shared features between neighboring languages; due to various language mixing processes). This acceptance of other language groups allowed for the formation of lingua francas (like Spanish in South America or French in sub-Saharan Africa). Lingua francas are intermediary languages used for the purposes of communicating with individuals from language communities outside your own. Generally, lingua francas are used to conduct business. However, there is casual usage of lingua francas as well; for example, I would direct you back to the Vaupes River Basin language community where individuals will constantly alter the language that they are speaking, depending on who all is involved in the

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