Skip main navigation

What is multilingualism to you?

This voxpop interviewed both people in Groningen and our families and experts about their thoughts on multilingualism.
9
[Dutch] It means you speak more than one language, like me. Dutch, German and Portuguese. Multilingualism according to me is An environment where you have different countries coming together. Where every language has the same Value as the other ones [German] For me, multilingualism is actually completely normal. At least here we all speak several languages. Unfortunately I only speak two languages, though… I understand a few more, for example Dutch. But I don’t speak it. It should be completely normal. For me multilingualism is Understanding or speaking two or more languages in your daily life.
66.8
Smart. Being smart. Emotions. Being connected to your language and your emotions. And intercultural understanding as well. [Spanish:] Different languages, intercultural communication. Things like that. [Dutch:] Esperanto. [Dutch:] Travelling, making friends. Things like that.
93.3
[Dutch:]I feel a secret pride in being Frisian. I wouldn’t want it to die out as a language. So I’ll keep speaking it with my parents. [Spanish]: I think that, especially today… It’s very important, because it helps you understand different cultures. Mexican culture, for example, is related to the language. So if you study Mexican Spanish, you’ll understand more of the Mexican people. I believe nowadays it’s a very important and positive thing. [Dutch:]I think it’s a positive thing. It allows you to speak with more people on this planet. The more, the merrier. Positive. Definitely positive.

The views on what multilingualism is and what is means for individuals and societies differ greatly. Do you need to speak several languages at a high level to be a multilingual? Or is multilingualism the coexistence of different languages in one geographical space?

We are interested in finding out what your ideas on this are. In this activity, you will first watch a video with a compilation of different views on multilingualism. We have asked random people on the street about their opinion, but also the families in the course and the experts we have interviewed.

This article is from the free online

Multilingual Practices: Tackling Challenges and Creating Opportunities

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education