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Trilingualism In Education

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Acquiring a second language may be due to exposure to other languages to become bilingual, which is being able to speak two or more languages (Barnes, 2006). Other people may learn a third language due to exposures to different language and cultural settings (Sagin, 2006). This can result from the parents’ change of citizenship to a new country, and the children acquire a third language, making them to become trilingual, which is the ability to speak more than two languages. Trilingualism can be considered another type of bilingualism, and researchers have used studies on bilingualism to study trilingualism (Hammarberg, 2009). Trilingualism can be achieved through three ways: children growing up in a trilingual surrounding, adults living in a trilingual or multilingual community, and fluent bilinguals who acquire a third language through learning at school or other areas (Wang, 2008). This essay is a literary review about trilingualism in the classroom and the effects that it brings to a child’s education. It starts with evaluating circumstances leading to acquisition of trilingualism in the society. Through reference from earlier studies, the essay also discusses the prevalence of trilingualism and how it affects education in children. The research then concludes by calling for more research on trilingualism due to the limited current research trilingualism (Davidiak, 2010). The ability to speak more than two languages depends on several circumstances. First, children can become trilingual by being exposed to a trilingual society. Secondly, people who speak two or more languages can go to school to study a third language, and thirdly, living in a trilingual or multilingual society can affect people’s language. In these three circumstances, researches on trilingualism have showed that there is no choice of whether or not one wants to acquire a third language, but conditions force them to become trilingual. However, the biggest challenge is how people deal with three languages or cultures because they cannot be balanced (Barron-Hauwaert, 2000). Whereas it is easy to acquire an additional language, it may prove difficult to adopt the culture. A third language acquisition can also depend on the child’s age in relation to local, father or mother’s language choice (Lasagabaster, 2007). Older children can easily acquire a third language especially in a situation where the local language is a third language to them because of exposure to it. Suzanne’s research on language acquisition in children shows that children aged between 2 and 3.5 years used mother’s language, children aged between 3 to 4 used father’s language as their first language, and children aged 6 and above years used the country’s language (Lasagabaster, 2007). Acquisition of the mother’s language at a young age is possibly because of the child living with the mother and having no peer interaction in the community (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 2003). Although the reason for the acquisition of father’s language by some children is not clear, (Barron-Hauwaert2000) points that it might be fathers stepping in to expose the child to their language. Speaking the local language of older children is due to exposure to the community that speaks the local language or peer group at school. Barron-Hauwaert shows that exposure to different circumstances leads people to become