4.17.2010

Many tongues

So right now, it's 7:34 in the morning. I'm listening to BBC Five Live and packing to go to a race north of Bilbao, and I just thought of something. Again, this is an idea. I don't know if there's any scientific support for it.

I wonder if children who grow up in areas like the Basque Country or Catalonia, where they're expected to speak more than one language, have an advantage when it comes to learning English. I know a lot of people from those areas who have become quite fluent in English, and I wonder how much of it comes from already knowing more than one language. Not because there are connections between the languages, but because they develop the skills that help them deal with new information and new languages.

My friend Stuart, who's from Wales and lives in the middle of Guip├║zcoa, says that the people in his town always joke about when they're going to get the first African Lehendekari - after all, he says, African people are so adept at learning languages, they're among the few immigrants (or residents of Euskadi!) who master speaking Euskera. And in Canada, French Canadians have always been far ahead of anglophone Canadians when it comes to being able to dominate both of Canada's official languages.

Thoughts?

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