The Importance of Context in Determining Receptivity or Resistance to Bilingualism
1. Introduction: Bilingualism and Social Psychology
Bilingualism is the ability to speak two languages fluently. It is a highly valued skill in today’s globalized world. Many countries are now home to multiple language communities and the ability to speak more than one language is seen as an asset. In some cases, bilingualism is seen as a necessity, in order to be able to communicate with people from different linguistic backgrounds.
However, bilingualism is not always seen as a positive thing. There are some who see it as a threat to the unity of a nation or community. They may view it as a sign of division and argue that it leads to confusion and misunderstandings. In some cases, bilingualism may even be seen as a sign of disrespect for the dominant language and culture.
So, why do attitudes towards bilingualism differ so much? What explains resistance or receptivity to bilingualism? In this paper, I will explore this question from a social psychological perspective. I will first discuss how attitudes determine if bilingualism is to be accepted or rejected. I will then turn to the role of norms in determining receptivity or resistance to bilingualism. Finally, I will conclude by discussing the importance of context in understanding attitudes towards bilingualism.
2. How Attitudes Determine Receptivity or Resistance to Bilingualism
Attitudes are evaluations that we make about people, objects, or ideas (Allport, 1985). They can be positive or negative and they can influence our behaviour. Attitudes towards bilingualism can therefore either promote or discourage the use of two languages.
One way in which attitudes can influence behaviour is through self-fulfilling prophecies (Merton, 1948). This is when our expectations about someone or something lead us to behave in a way that makes those expectations come true. For example, if we expect that someone who speaks two languages will be confused and make mistakes, we may treat them differently and pay less attention to what they are saying. As a result, they may indeed become confused and make mistakes. Our expectations have come true, but only because of our own behaviour.
Self-fulfilling prophecies often occur because of stereotypes (Allport, 1985). Stereotypes are over-simplified beliefs about groups of people that we use to make quick judgments about them (Macrae & Bodenhausen, 2000). They can lead us to see people who belong to certain groups in very negative ways and to treat them unfairly as a result. For example, there may be a stereotype that all immigrants are uneducated and unintelligent. This may lead us to treat immigrants badly and not give them opportunities to prove themselves. As a result, they may indeed end up being uneducated and unintelligent because we have deprived them of the chance to do anything else.
Stereotypes can also lead us to believe that certain groups of people are a threat to us in some way (Macrae & Bodenhausen, 2000). For example, there may be a stereotype that all immigrants are criminals. This may lead us to fear immigrants and try to keep them out of our country. As a result, they may indeed become criminals because we have made it difficult for them to lead law-abiding lives.
In addition to self-fulfilling prophecies and stereotypes, attitudes can also influence behaviour through the push-pull effect (Allport, 1985). This is when we are attracted to people or things that we like and repelled by people or things that we dislike. For example, we may be attracted to people who speak our language and repelled by people who speak a different language. As a result, we may avoid speaking to people who speak a different language, even if we could communicate with them perfectly well.
The push-pull effect is often mediated by emotions (Allport, 1985). For example, we may feel fear when we encounter someone who speaks a different language. This may lead us to avoid them. Alternatively, we may feel happy when we meet someone who speaks our language. This may lead us to approach them and start a conversation. Emotions can therefore have a strong influence on our behaviour.
3. The Role of Norms in Determining Receptivity or Resistance to Bilingualism
Norms are social rules that tell us how to behave in certain situations (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). They can either be explicit, like laws, or implicit, like unwritten rules of etiquette. Norms can either be formal, like laws, or informal, like the norms of a particular social group.
Norms can influence our behaviour in two ways. First, they can tell us what behaviour is appropriate or inappropriate in a given situation. For example, there may be a norm that says it is appropriate to speak English in an English-speaking country and inappropriate to speak another language. This norm would tell us that it is wrong to speak another language in an English-speaking country and that we should only speak English.
Second, norms can tell us what behaviour is likely to lead to positive or negative outcomes (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). For example, there may be a norm that says it is more likely to get a job if you speak English fluently. This norm would encourage us to learn English in order to increase our chances of getting a job.
Norms can therefore either promote or discourage bilingualism. They can do this in two ways. First, they can tell us that bilingualism is appropriate or inappropriate in a given situation. Second, they can tell us that bilingualism is more likely to lead to positive or negative outcomes.
4. Conclusion: The Importance of Context in Determining Receptivity or Resistance to Bilingualism
In this paper, I have discussed how attitudes determine if bilingualism is to be accepted by people. Attitudes will determine whether people will be bilingual or not. I have also discussed how norms determine if bilingualism is to be accepted by people. Norms will also determine whether people will be bilingual or not. However, it is important to remember that both attitudes and norms are influenced by context.
Context refers to the situation in which something happens (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). It includes both the physical environment and the social environment. The physical environment includes things like the weather and the amount of space available. The social environment includes things like the culture and the norms of the community