Cognition refers to the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood, images, concepts, words etc. A typical example can be gesturing with your hands while you talk. (Coon and Mitterer, 2010, p. 284).
The basic units of thinking are concepts, that help us to make sense of the world and are important in problem solving. Concepts allow us to enhance our memory, guide our behaviour and associate experiences and objects. There are three basic units of thought which is images, concepts and language. The first concept images are visual, mental representation of an event or object. The second, concepts is an idea for a group of objects or events that have at least one attribute in common. The final concept is language which is a communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols. (Coon and Mitterer, 2010, p. 284).
The relationship between language and thinking is an important task in psychology.
Majority of our everyday life involves language, we speak internally to make logic conclusions, we read and understand meanings.(Coon and Mitterer, 2010, p. 288-289).
Bilingualism is the ability to use two languages. To become fluent in a second language it will require skills in speaking, reading and writing, also in practice some of the skills will be less developed than others. If bilingualism is seen as a negative event in the wider society, and if the learner's first language is not valued and encouraged, then this will result in subtractive bilingualism.
Subtractive bilingualism is when a second language interferes with the development of learning a first language and the second language replaces the first language. This is common when children or people emigrate from foreign countries when they are young and erode the members' culture with foreign languages because language is an important sign of group membership. This can be contrasted to additive bilingualism. Additive bilingualism can be linked with high self-esteem and is the opposite of subtractive bilingualism and vice versa.
Two-way bilingual education is a program that provides children benefit and avoid drawbacks from bilingualism. With such programs, children I a majority group with limited English skills will broken up into part of the day English lessons and part second languauge. Since literacy instruction is in both majority and minority groups of students become skilled in both languages and will perform better than single language students. (Coon and Mitterer, 2010 p. 289).
Mother tongue is the language that you have learnt from birth or grown up speaking from it and is taught to you by your parents or is learned by your ethnic group so it doesn't necessarily mean one's first language. There are many families where the child's parent speaks a different language so you can have more than one mother tongue, these children are called bilingual.
An indigenous language is a language that is spoken by indigenous people and is a native language to the region. In general indigenous languages are disappearing because there are no longer people left to speak those languages so they are called endangered languages.
English as a preferred medium has many negative consequences because it has delayed students from learning, and it leads to both English and the mother tongue to be mastered late. In a country like South Africa, English should be the preferred medium because it will make teaching easier and understanding of each other simpler in education and other environments.(Banda,2000, p. 1)
Subtractive bilingualism may have some negative consequences because this will allow people to focus more on the second language which is English and get weaker in their first language skills such as their mother tongue. Subtractive bilingualism threatens the linguistic and social development of the first language a child learns and will contribute to the extinction of the mother tongue language. (Coon and Mitterer, 2010, p. 289).
Below are some case studies of different people in different scenarios about mother tongue and indigenous languages.
Bernice Mpamonyne is a matric student that just finished her prelim exam and is born in Gauteng but was raised by a white couple that her mother worked with. Bernice's mother tongue is English and has no Shangaan culture because of how she had been raised. Bernice's mother is concerned about her child not having the mother tongue foundation
Tessa Dowling works for an organisation that promotes multilingualism called African Voices and is concerned about the low quantities of teaching material that are published and are only available in specialised bookshops. Tessa Dowling is concerned about the matric results worsening and is getting a compulsory system to help this situation but needs time to get the system up and running.(Nicol, 2005, p. 120)
Indigenous language education has been moving away drastically because of a number of reasons such as training being expensive and teachers are scarce which a problem is because teaching materials are hard to find. The middle class is resistance to the idea of indigenous language training.
In the discussion on sociolinguistics it makes mother tongue education difficult because of the 11 official languages that South Africa has. The apartheids government policy of separating South Africans in categories of ethnic and language orientation makes a remarkable language distribution.(Banda,2000, p. 2)
(Banda,2000, p. 2)
(Banda,2000, p. 3)