Emotional Diglossia in Multilingual Classroom Environments: A Proposal

Jon Andoni DuƱabeitia*

Emotional Diglossia in Multilingual Classroom Environments: A Proposal.

In many countries worldwide, it is easy to find speakers of different languages within the
same community. The presence of effective multilingualism has ceased to be an exception
and has almost become a norm in the developed societies, or at least, a desirable milestone in
the globalized world. Although, the presence of multiple languages in the same environment
has become an everyday occurrence, it is not a trivial issue.

In the recent years, an increasing body of experimental research has been witnessedā€”from multiple scientific fields and perspectivesā€”that has focused on investigating how to manage this multilingual reality. As has been discussed in the following paragraphs, numerous studies from the field of cognitive science have highlighted the benefits and drawbacks of multilingualism at various cognitive levels.

The unstoppable progress of multilingualism has been accompanied by lively debates
about the cognitive consequences of the frequent use of more than one language, both at the
linguistic and non-linguistic levels.1-11 Even if this may sound strange to most of us, multilingualism was initially considered as a potentially harmful construct for the cognitive system.

Furthermore, considering the techniques developed in the field of cognitive neuroscience, many recent studies stemming from the seminal work by MechelliĀ  have focused on investigating the possible structural and neuroanatomical differences between multilinguals and monolinguals.

This has raised the debate on the cognitive and cerebral consequences of
multilingualism to a new dimension, opening doors to gaining a better understanding of the
neuroarchitectural reconfiguration process that results from negotiating between more than one
language in an active way. Many schools have been promoting the use of more than one language to communicate and teach, be it becauseĀ  of action plans marked by certain linguistic and educational policies or because of the complex globalized sociolinguistic reality that surrounds us.


Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2017; 3(3): 74-78. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-3-126