Disadvantages of being bilingual?Could I have a paragraph which explains the disadvantages of being bilingual?

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afi80fl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I agree with Lynn in that there are several advantages to being billingual, if I really had to stretch my brain, perhaps the greatest disadvantage is a cultural one, in which members of a billingual person's native culture might look down upon him/her for learning the new language.  Most people would see it only as an effort to increase employability, but others might interpret it as a willingness to abandon their native culture and adapt to the new culture.  Many families choose not to speak the new language in their homes, and use their native language for as many verbal interractions as possible.  Finally, members of the new culture might wrongly interpret the billingual person's willingness to learn the new language as an admission that his/her native language is inadequate or deficient.

Please know that I'm not agreeing with any of these things; I think speaking multiple languages is a sign of intelligence and ambition; I'm just trying to help you see possible disadvantages for doing so.  Best of luck!

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I have taught at many schools with populations of poor immigrants. I found that the parents often desperately wanted their children to learn English, so they would often discourage use of their own language. They thought that if they talked to their children in their own language, their children wouldn't learn English as well. I often tried to explain to them that it was better for their children to be bilingual. However, neighborhood wisdom suggested that the best way for the children to learn English was to not speak or hear their own language, and it's hard to get past neighborhood wisdom.
lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm afraid I can't think of ANY disadvantages to being bilingual. Did you mean advantages? There are plenty of those. Knowing another languages increases your appreciation of another culture. It helps you understand the grammar of your own, as you really have to study the parts of speech. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to speak to people in another language, both if you travel abroad, or if you happen to meet them here. If you have family in another country, it is wonderful to raise your children to be able to speak with them.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Being bilingual is fantastic and it is very difficult to think of disadvantages of being bilingual. The only disadvantage that I can think of is that many people who are bilingual (such as people from Mexico) are from another country or have direct ancestors (moms or dads) who are from another country. There are many people who think that english should be the only language spoken here. People who are bilingual may be discriminated against by these kinds of people.

crystaltu001 | Student

I do not think there are any disadvantages being bilingual because it is kind of a good thing being bilingual because you know multiple languages and can help people who aren't bilingual . Maybe it is a bad thing because you can sometimes mix up two languages while you are talking.

atyourservice | Student

a disadvantage might be the fact that sometimes a person tends to mix up words, or might think of a way of expressing themselves that doesnt have an equivalent in the other language making it harder for them to express themselves, but this is just from stretching this only happens to me once in a blue moon.

krishna-agrawala | Student

By stretching ones brain, it is possible to think up of so many imaginary things that don't just exist. I see no disadvantages of being bilingual. If someone is able to find, and not imagine the disadvantages, I will be very happy to know what these are.

Coming to advantages of being bilingual - or multilingual - I will add the following to the list of ones identified in earlier posts.

  1. You can understand Mora people and you can understand them better.
  2. Similarly more people can understand you and understand you better.
  3. You get better acceptance and cooperation of people when you speak their language.
  4. You access to a wider range of literature and knowledge.
  5. You can get job of an interpreter.