Most Americans are monolinguals.

In fact, a whopping 80 percent of Americans are monolinguals, as only 15 percent to 20 percent consider themselves to be bilingual. America’s monolingual percentage compared to many other countries out there is astronomical. Although English is a great language and perhaps one of the more dominant ones in the world, people in the United States should start speaking more languages. And we could start to increase our bilingual population here at Purdue.

Although all students should be encouraged to learn more languages besides English, we should specifically target those who are not taking a language class (besides English of course) and are monolingual speakers.

I think it is imperative that people start to learn more languages as research has shown there are many cognitive, emotional, and social benefits and advantages associated with it. Moreover, research has shown that bilingual speakers make more money here in the United States as they are employed more. According to Salary.com, bilinguals’ pay differentials range anywhere from 5 percent per hour to a resounding 20 percent per hour more than the position’s base rate. As an example, government workers in the state of California who are bilinguals earn an extra 58 cents per hour, according to the state’s Department of Personnel Administration website. And according to the National Association for Bilingual Education, the law accepts up to $1,000 monthly pay for bilingual active-duty military personnel. So the bottom line is rather simple and apparent: Being bilingual really does pay off.

I believe that everyone should step up and learn another language, and when a large population has become bilingual speakers, the next step is to kick it up a notch and learn even another language to start increasing our multilingual population.

— Makram Assaf, a Purdue student in Exploratory Studies

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