Urban Bilingual

Bilingualism: An Asset or a Liability?
For this assignment, compile arguments in response to the question:
Is being bilingual an asset or a liability?
1. Begin by revisiting the assigned articles, textbook chapters and lectures to compile as many positives and negatives related to bilingualism as possible.
2. Next, populate the four cells in the table below with your findings (bullet points are OK):
Factors related to bilingualism Cognitive factors Social factors
Mainly positive
Mainly negative

3. In the next step, write a thesis statement for your paper which reflects your position in response to the main question and allows a peek into your argumentation:

This is a brainstorm for the research paper.

Please have this by 10/22 before 12 noon

Research Paper
Being Bilingual: An Asset or a Liability?
Until about the 1960s, the conventional wisdom was that bilingualism was a disadvantage. Imagine being asked
by your friends or relatives, upon hearing that you are taking this class, whether bilingualism was bad or good
for their children.
Your task:
In this research paper, respond to the prompt below:
Is being bilingual an asset or a liability, especially in the US context?
Begin by defining bilingualism. Then, explain cognitive aspects of bilingualism. Is the process of adding
an additional language mainly beneficial or mainly harmful to the mental processes? Next, consider the
social aspects of being bilingual. Is there a stigma attached to bilingual speakers in the American society?
Include examples from sources you read and/or heard in our class discussions or from your personal
experience (i.e., the interview you conducted). Conclude by making recommendations to your friends.
Process stages for this assignment:
1. Read the assigned articles (Bialystok, Wei, Garcia) and re-read the textbook chapters.
2. Analyze the arguments for and against bilingualism
3. Take a position on the issue, write a thesis statement (one-sentence summary to the overall question),
and have it peer-critiqued
4. Write a rough draft; invite out-of-class peer review
5. Submit the final product; expect feedback
6. Discuss revision strategies with me; revise and include in the e-portfolio
Your role and audience:
Effective writers are able to place themselves into their reader’s mind and anticipate possible questions. In
writing this essay, imagine that you are writing to someone who knows less about this topic than you and who,
for example, is not aware of the press reports on the most recent developments in neuroscience. Therefore, give
your reader necessary context or background information throughout the essay to help him/her follow your


Urban Bilingual