Multilingualism

| Trinity College Dublin and Oranim Academic College of Education, Israel
| Trinity College Dublin
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027218704 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
 
PaperbackAvailable
ISBN 9789027218711 | EUR 33.00 | USD 49.95
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027274984 | EUR 99.00/33.00*
| USD 149.00/49.95*
 
This book is an authoritative account of multilingualism in the present era, a phenomenon affecting a vast number of communities, thousands of languages and millions of language users. The book’s focus is specifically on the knowledge and use of multiple languages, but its treatment of the topic is very wide-ranging. It deals with both bilingualism and polyglottism, at the level of the individual speaker as well as at the societal level. The volume addresses not only linguistic facets of multilingualism but also multilingualism’s cultural, sociological, educational, and psychological dimensions, moving from classic perspectives to recent and emerging directions of interest. The book’s extensive coverage takes in topics ranging from the ‘new linguistic dispensation’ in our globalized world to child development in multilingual environments, from the classification of multilingual groupings to characteristics of the multilingual mind. This breadth makes Multilingualism an ideal advanced textbook for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the areas of linguistics, education and the social sciences.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
ix
1. Introduction
1–9
2. Multilingualism: Some preliminary considerations
11–32
3. Multilingualism as a new linguistic dispensation
33–57
4. The Dominant Language Constellation (DLC)
59–75
5. Multilinguality and personal development
77–97
6. Language development in multilingual conditions
99–115
7. Classifications of multilinguals, multilingual contexts and languages in multilingual environments
117–143
8. A multilingual monolith?
145–162
9. Towards a comprehensive view of multilingualism
163–186
10. Concluding thoughts
187–189
Bibliography
191–219
Language index
221–222
Name index
223–226
Subject index
227–230
“This book advances the study of multilingualism by providing new evidence that at times broadens existing theories and at other times displaces old myths.”
“A highly contemporary view of multilingualism across many countries of the world, which never forgets that multilinguals are human beings, is always grounded on a clear idea of language itself and proposes thought-provoking new lines of enquiry for the future. The concept of Dominant Language Constellation is an important synthesis from existing schemes and certainly helps one to understand better the complex interaction of languages in multilingualism.”
“This volume functions well as an introduction and overview of multilingualism, past and present. Several recent publications addressing multilingualism approach the issues from the perspective of examining the languages themselves (Edwards, 2012) or pedagogical practices (Blackledge & Creese, 2010), yet Aronin and Singleton’s focus here is on global issues and debates in multilingualism. They investigate the role that globalization has played in the rise of multilingualism and suggest that the field is in need of “the most comprehensive consideration possible” (p. 1). To achieve this, they outline historical ways that multilingualism has changed qualitatively as well as identify the perspectives that have contributed to research in the field. Aronin and Singleton give an admirable compilation of the relevant issues, leaving the reader with an overall picture of the research that has contributed to the debates. There are a couple drawbacks for an instructor or researcher in the volume’s execution. Organizationally, the advance from one
chapter topic to the next does not clearly build upon the previous but instead each is largely independent of the other. As a part of this, one chapter (Chapter 4, DLC) is primarily composed of the authors’ own interpretations and unique contributions with surrounding chapters largely reviews of other researchers’ contributions and classifications. An instructor would need to consider how to address such issues if using this as a course book or reference.
A chapter that can be an excellent reference for commonly asked practical questions about multilingualism is Chapter 6, “Language development in multilingual conditions.” The authors cite studies such as Jedynak (2009), who indicates that with many learners, although not a majority, attain native-like pronunciation of a language depending more on length of time learning the language rather than age beginning to learn it; and Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson (2000) who counter this noting that there has never been a recorded case of a learner after puberty speaking in every way like a native. Aronin and Singleton (2012) also address literature investigating the shifting proficiencies of languages in young multilinguals and the factors that influence one language becoming more proficient than another. Since parents, teachers, and school administrators in various modern cultures assume or question whether learning multiple languages in early childhood is harmful for a child, this chapter indicates that children can gain much by early multilingualism. Aronin and Singleton (2012) acknowledge that some research is still inconclusive in determining if childhood multilingual acquisition is slower than that of monolinguals.
A chapter that can be particularly useful for researchers is Chapter 7,“Classifications of multilinguals, multilingual contexts and languages in multilingual environments.” In this chapter, Aronin and Singleton classify multilinguals into the three categories they recommend for research: users, environments, education. Within each of these, they review each of the classifications and topologies of researchers (such as Cenoz, 2000) who have already similarly attempted to classify multilinguals or bilinguals. Their approach consolidated the classifications that have been made for bilinguals, and they how they may be inadequate for classifying multilinguals. The categories give future researchers in this area meaningful ways to capture the essence of the issue under consideration while leaving room to expand the classifications and topographies to fit the multilingual environments they wish to explore. The authors conclude with a look at language types, as divided by language families, and focusing on sociolinguistic differences.
Larissa Aronin and David Singleton address multilingualism as a contemporary issue, and they do this well. Because of the historical and background research they overview for each topic, this work can be useful a reference or coursebook for researchers or instructors wanting a consolidated text that addresses the foundational research and perspectives in multilingualism. They identify some areas of multilingualism and bilingualism as important for growth and understanding in this field, such as the significance of reaching an understanding between societies and individuals. They push for a qualitative shift in studies, to looking beyond both bilingualism and monolingualism.
The drawback of their approach is that while the book compiles much past research into themes, such as the language and classifications developed for multilinguals’ environments, their own unique contribution to the field is sparse. Each topic is compiled from previous typologies or classifications with the identification that they may not be complete to represent the contexts of many multilinguals, yet they do not offer improved alternatives for most. Despite this, they make noteworthy contributions. One is their worthwhile expansion of Edwards’ (1994) division of main elements of multilingualism from “speaker,” “settings,” and “language” to the more comprehensive “user,” “environment,” and “language.” As they note, perspectives have broadened in the last 20 years, and “user” and “environment” are a meaningful expansion since more than spoken languages--also signers and writers--are analyzed, and much more can contribute to the environment than the setting, such as the languages spoken between the parents and by each parent to a child. They also offer Chapter 4 to introduce their Dominant Language Constellation (DLC) as a concept and framework for shifting the focus of multilingual research onto the social aspects rather than the linguistics ones.
This volume can be an excellent starting place for researchers seeking an accessible way to engage the topics and classifications of multilingualism. Since the challenges and shortcomings of research topologies in the field are addressed in each chapter, future researchers will have the opportunity to address those issues themselves. The book’s greatest contribution is highlighting the need to recognize the complexity of multilingualism and the ambiguity that current research allows since this awareness can prompt and challenge the development of approaches that can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomena of multilingualism. Multilingualism as a research field is relatively young, so their efforts to increase awareness of the issues and research needs are commendable.”
“This excellent book offers an up-to-date account of the phenomenon of bilingualism.”
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 01 may 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

Subjects
BIC Subject: CFB – Sociolinguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011046459