Better for being bilingual

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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It was on this day (Sept. 9) in 1969 the Canadian government officially placed special status upon two languages — English and French.

Equal under the law, these two languages have been a part of the Canadian makeup long before that 40-year-old decision and will likely continue to be a part of this nation for many decades to come.

Living in a bilingual country, in some ways, means Canada is able, or perhaps obligated, to see the world from two perspectives. Language is, after all, so key to thought that it is difficult to even imagine how one thinks without words.

French and English, while in many ways similar, are nonetheless very different. It is a diversity that is part of what makes this nation great.

Canadians, because of our multicultural and bilingual nature, should have the knack of appreciating different viewpoints. This ability not only makes us empathetic, tolerant and respectful to the thoughts of others, but also hopefully makes us better able to resolve conflict in a peaceful and productive manner. Appreciating the other is so much a part of who we are, after all.

Maybe it is a bit of a stretch to suggest official doctrine granting bilingual status to a country speaks to the abilities and sensitivities of that country and its people. However, it does speak to the values towards which, at least officially, that nation aspires.

 

Geographic location: Canada

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