Let's treat knowledge for now like a huge library full of precious books in a catacomb waiting to be discovered. Some of us dig to get there everyday, some us don't care that much and others just stumble on everyday phrases like: Bonjour, Hola, Priviet...

When it comes to langauges, finding your way into that secret library becomes even more important and of course a bigger challenge. According to the New York Times Sunday Issue, bilingualism is relatively rare. Bilingualism as defined by the times is: "speaking two langauges with the proficiency of a native". 

This may sounds like a scenario out of a "road to success movie" for many Americans but for many Europeans it is actually not that rare. America is the golden country, the land of opportunity...etc 

But there are issues when it comes to learning languages that under those circumstances should be non-existant. America is known as a melting pot where people from al over the world live and work together in harmony, exchanging ideas, opinions and working to gether on projects and creating communities where everyone can feel comfortable and be themselves. However, even though there are people from every edge of the earth on that land they are all united under one language - english. This sounds smart because there is a way for everyone to communicate yet that makes America a monolingual environement.

It is known that with the learning of new langauges come an assortement of new ideas and mind-sets since our horizons broaden and we can look at situations and thing from several different dimensions. One would think that english does not stand as a barrier to attaining those "mind-sets" since they are already existant. The brazilians have their own mindsets, the Chinese their own, the Greeks their own and so on...When working together there should be the same presence of mindsets that exist in multilingual environents and there is, but there won't be for quite longer...

Second generation Americans are growing up with only english and their chinese, their portuguese, their greek or their German roots soon fade away. This is where the problem begins...

In Europe, children must know at least 2 langauges to be able to communicate in the international environement they are raised in. For example children in Switzerland must know both German and French to be able to communicate. Also, in teh case of European language english is learnt along with the other langauges they need to communicate in their countries. This results to the Europeans learning more langauges than the Americans due to the multilingual environment they are raised in. 

Why is bilingualism so important you ask? Learning new languages allow people from all ages but mainly youngsters to express themesleves in many ways. The reason young people/children and teens learn langauges faster is because during those ages childrens' minds operate like sponges, taking in all the knowledge they are offered. Also, sounds and accents and formulated more easily at those ages and thus, the children sound native when they actually learn the language and speak it. 

Apart from expressing oneself, learning languages allows for children escaping their comfort zones and thus raising their confidence levels. Developmental psychology has told us that in order to learn a language a huge exposure to the langauge is necessary and that could be done through singing songs, reading stories or simply talking. This helps as for the child to be more outgoing and not be shy to talk and do things that one enjoys. 

The key for learning langauges is to not let one langauge overtake the other and another point to take note of is that mixing langauges is a sign of language ability according to Dr.Hoff.