When we as the diaspora arrive here (or in other countries away from our homeland), we do so with one distinct advantage. Multilingualism. But, as we transition into the hustles and bustles of life, this advantage tends to get forgotten, or overlooked. I decided to write about this topic for several reasons. Number one, because this ability is something we grow up with, we don’t get to think of it as anything unique. To employ an oft used phrase ‘we take it for granted’. Secondly, if you are here in the US, then you already know about the demand for bilingual people, especially Spanish speaking.
I’m a linguist by profession, and one of the languages that I’m fluent in is Spanish. What I have come to learn is that it becomes easier to learn another language if you’re already bilingual/multilingual. This finding is also backed by scientific research. You can find more information about this topic in the work of Prof. Salim Abu-Rabia and Ekaterina Sanitsky of the University of Haifa. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201110915.htm). This ability that we arrive with is an asset that we can also use to equip those kids born in the Diaspora. It is an advantage that we should exploit to the maximum.
In my blog, www.yourfluency.blogspot.com, I have shared some pointers that I found valuable during my languages studies journey. I have also deconstructed some oft presented ‘myths’ like, it’s impossible to learn a new or second language as an adult. On the contrary, it is very easy and possible to do so. Multitudes of people are doing it daily. So, if this is your passion, or if it has the potential to boost your career, or meet an intrinsic need, go for it. It’s never too late, or too early to learn a new language.
Kiongo Muigai is an Honorable member of Diaspora National Assembly(DNA)