In our globalized world, it is becoming vitally important to be bilingual to understand what is happening around us. The process of learning a foreign and second language is going lighting fast because of the demand in communication to exchange ideas with other countries' citizens. Purposes like traveling and education are creating numerous living and studying in cosmopolitan cities. Being bilingual opens doors to abroad. I strongly believe in the psychological, neurological, and societal benefits of bilingualism. However, some people refute the negative sides of these perspectives.
Bilingualism can be a negative phenomenon, which has detrimental effects on bilinguals such as psychological foul-ups. Reynold argued that 'Bilingualism leads to language mixing and confusion (1928). Additionally, on the level of personality development, it is believed that 'Speaking two languages is a negative factor in personality and identity development (Appel and Muysken, 1987). Bilingualism is believed to have detrimental effects on personality leading to tension and emotional liability, which cause a conflict between the child's bilingualism and his personality and emotion'. On the other hand, being bilingual possibly advance the psychology of the people. Since they can converse with others and the chances for them to have a conversation with foreigners are greater than monolinguals. Astington and Jenkins noted that 'Peoples' dual language abilities would give them an evidence for other's intentions, mental states and beliefs' (1996). Conducted experiments related to this premise, revealed that general language abilities are positively associated with mind reading. A study by psychologists at the University of Chicago found that children exposed to other languages were likely to have a better understanding of other people. I support the view as, the more language people learn the better they are in perspective-taking. Moreover, bilingual people are skilled in reading peoples' minds and differentiating things psychologically because of the advantages in inhibitory control and superior social sensitivity. Furthermore, bilingual children are thought to be better at problem-solving tasks than those who speak one language.
However, in the twentieth century, bilingualism was thought to culminate in cognitive disadvantages. Indeed, 'Acquiring a second language even judged as a problem of the bilingual child' (Smith 1923). Scientists defined bilingualism as 'a hardship and devoid of apparent advantage' (Yoshioka 1929 p 479). Additionally, applying a foreign language at home may be a real hindrance for a child to overcome. Goodenough stated that 'The use of a language in the house is one of the chief factors in producing mental retardation'. 'Monolingual children can be mentally confused than mongoloid children as (Saer 1923) mentioned (p,38). Despite these thoughts, bilingualism is strongly deemed to result in neurological and cognitive advantages. If a person has experience with two or more languages his/her brain may delay the incidence of Alzheimer's and Neuropathology disease up to 4 years (Mark Antoniou). Besides that, brain plasticity will develop if a person experiences oneself in other languages. Furthermore, another medical benefit of being bilingual is the promotion of healthy cognitive aging. A relationship was found between bilingualism and improved cognitive aging in healthy older adults.
Nevertheless, having countless number of bilinguals may cause negative effects to the economy of the country like brain-drain process. There is no doubt that skilled and bilingual individuals probably want better working conditions and high wages from the company they work for than monolingual people. Plus, they are usually offered a luxurious salary by other countries abroad. The economy of the developing country might start declining if it loses its bilingual people. However, there is evidence of the benefits of bilingualism which is generally found in the economy of the countries. As the global economy is becoming competitive the need for bilingual people is increasing gradually. The rapid growth in the area of business is demanding people who are capable of interacting virtually and instantaneously from any part of the world. According to the statistics made before 'The Spanish language was considered to be the most commonly studied language in the world in the US with 72% accounting 500 million Spanish speakers worldwide in 2008'. However, 'China attempted to gain all global market share by making Mandarin Chinese the most spoken language' (de la Garza, Cortina 2008). As results show countries, which are willing to boost their economy are eager to spread their language across the world.
In conclusion, I want to restate my view that learning a language has more benefits such as psychological, neurological and economic than negative sides. Learning a language is beneficial not only in the competitive world but also in the individual's health. Acquiring a language can prevent diseases effectively than any other medical treatment. I hope more people recognize the benefits of language learning in the future and enough work will be done to improve the quality of teaching in language schools.