This chapter aims to explore certain aspects and dimensions of bilingualism and multilingualism, with a focus on Europe. The issues analyzed are the following: languages coming into contact due to conquest or colonization, bilingualism and multilingualism as a reflection of political trends and contemporary lifestyles, official languages, and heritage languages. The field of language education is also treated, when it comes to the benefits of being bilingual and multilingual, which are also analyzed from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, with the claim that knowledge of several languages ensures survival and better living conditions. The conclusions are that bilingualism and multilingualism are a necessity and an inevitable phenomenon in today’s Europe, especially due to migration and due to the need of adapting to and accepting other cultures. What is more, there is a universality of bilingualism and multilingualism throughout history.
Part of the book: Multilingualism and Bilingualism
The purpose of this chapter is to look at ways in which teaching and learning a foreign language can benefit from previous knowledge of other languages, when it comes to the awareness of linguistics, pragmatics, as well as of cultural differences. The assumption is that having knowledge of other languages and, implicitly, of cultures, can help increase awareness and empathy with other cultural values and mindsets. As a result, adaptation to the ways and values of other cultures can be easier and faster for multilinguals. Studying a foreign language should always be strongly connected to studying the respective culture, since it can increase awareness of the context of communication and help in the study of pragmatics. The chapter will analyze examples of multilinguals with these abilities and awareness and draw conclusions.
Part of the book: Multilingualism