The Growing Demand for Bilingualism in Modern Society

It is not difficult to see the central importance of bilingualism, with an emphasized importance on English language acquisition, in today’s society. Although having English as the world language raises numerous issues about identity and power that need to be further investigated, the reality is that being bilingual – in both one’s native language as well as in English – is quickly becoming the norm. In an attempt to compete globally, countries are investing mass amounts of capital into establishing bilingual institutions of higher learning, in which English-speaking instructors are being enticed to move to some of the most remote and exotic places on the globe to educate children and adults in China and Cambodia and Oman, etc. Therefore, the discussion of how non-English speakers become proficient in a second language (L2) is pivotal in the educational community, which raises issues of recognition, comprehension, and stimuli that aid the brain in developing the connections that enable the interpretation and processing of foreign information. In an attempt to study how these connections are made, many linguists rely on the Stroop test, which serves to study the reaction time of a task. Applying this test to L2 acquisition provides an invaluable insight that will enable language instructors to create learning environments that will aid language learners in transitioning from a basic or intermediate knowledge to an advanced fluency of the second language.

J.R. Stroop has made an invaluable contribution to the history of experimental psychology, and his test has been utilized in a myriad of subject areas, from neuropsychology to affective disorders. The Stroop effect has been used to discuss frontal lobe function (brain patterns), the role of emotions on cognition, the speed at which individuals process and compartmentalize information, and the process of second language acquisition (Stroop Effect, 2010). The&nbsp.Stroop test has even found its way into pop culture, in which Ryuta Kawashima developed a software program for Nintendo DS, called “Brain Age: Train your Brain in Minutes a Day,” which incorporates a variation of the test as a means to aid memory and shorten the reaction time of response.&nbsp.&nbsp.