English 201: Final Analysis of Completed Work

Professor McCormack                                                                                                                   Joseph Bailey

English 201

Toulmin Argument

Project #2 Multilingualism

In a study done on multilingualism, I made the argument that one does not have to speak more than one language to be considered multilingual. Someone can speak the main language of their country, but if they also use variations of that one language to communicate, then they are to be considered multilingual.

I claim that anyone who can speak variations of one language is multilingual, just like someone who can speak two or more languages. In order to give weight to my claim, I conducted a study that follows how many languages I will speak in any 24 hour period. The results turned up that I spoke English, and 3 different variations throughout that period, proving that a person can indeed be multilingual in one language. Using English as an example, I say that people can be multilingual in English because English has more than one genre of language. For instance, there is Texting English, Standard American English, Black English, and Spanglish, which is Spanish and English put together in one sentence. A person can communicate with all of these in not only one day, but in 5 minutes if they wanted to or had to. It all depends on where you are, and the audience that you are addressing at that particular time. The same way you write correspondence is not the same way you would have a conversation with someone you are face to face with. The same way you would speak to the CEO of your company is not the same way you would communicate with your friends at the bar after work. All these different variations in speaking make a person multilingual. It is all one base language, under the umbrella of English, yet it is still very different being that the rules change for each of these vernaculars one would enter into. It is said that Black English is not English at all because it is not Standard American English. The English that most Americans speak today is not Standard American English. The way that words are pronounced in Boston, are not the same way that those same words would be pronounced in Texas, or Michigan. Every state in the U.S. has a different way of speaking, yet they are all speaking English. When these people have the ability to effectively communicate with others, in a language besides their own, they’re not only showing, but they are proving to be multilingual. I make this argument because I feel it is important to recognize all facets of a language. A British individual may say that an American does not speak proper English, where as an American will say the same about someone from the United Kingdome. Yet in America people will judge and say you are not speaking proper English because they do not speak the same English that another person may speak. The fact that we are still able to communicate with one another with ease for the most part shows how multilingual we can be, and that’s only in American culture. My data does not include the millions of other cultures all around the world. As we begin to explore and begin to learn about other cultures, including our own, we will find more and more interesting avenues of our language that we may have never noticed before. I feel that this is a strong argument because multilingualism cannot be limited to someone who speaks French and German, or Spanish and English. We have to take a look from the norm outside the box, and see that within our own one language, there are many different types of pseudo languages, in a form of English, that people use to communicate every day. These people cannot be said to not be of a multilingual nature for the simple fact that it is variations of English that they are speaking, because those variations represent language too.  This argument could have been stronger if people were interviewed from different countries, and we could see how many variations of their language they use on a day to do basis.

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