Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Non-Russians Circulate 2012 Finnish Pamphlet Promoting Bilingualism

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 16 – Faced by mounting pressure against non-Russian languages, the VKontakte “Natural Multi-Lingual” group (vk.com/polilingvismo) has taken the unusual step of distributing via websites in some of the non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation a Finnish pamphlet promoting bilingualism.

            The 14-page Russian-language pamphlet, entitled “Multi-Lingualism is a Real Source of Wealth,” was written for immigrants to that Finno-Ugric country to encourage them to retain their native languages even as they learned Finnish. (The complete text is available on the Mari Uver portal at mariuver.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/mnogoyazychie-podlinnoe_bogatstvo.pdf).

            The first section of the pamphlet is devoted to “why your native language is important for your children”(mariuver.com/2019/11/16/rod-jazyk-vazhen/). It reads as follows:

“Your native language is important for your children for many reasons: it is the basis for the balanced development of their intellectual capacities and habits of emotional life, it is an important part of their ideas about their origins and roots,, it is a connecting link between children and those close to them, and  it is an instrument for the acquisition of new knowledge and creative thought.

“If a child masters the languages native to you, this will help strengthen his self-consciousness. If a child learns to value his roots, he will grow up as an integration personality open to other cultures

“You will help a child if you sow your open attitude toward various languages and explain that multilingualism is what should be strived for. You will support your child in mastering the Finnish language if you sent him to a Finnish kindergarten, school, or play group However, you should not independently instruct the child in Finnish.

“Your task is to speak with the child in your native language. No one can do this for you. And if your child gains the chance to grow up multi-lingual, this will be a plus both for him and for all your family.”

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