1. Bilingualism and Multilingualism: Some Central Concepts

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. John Edwards

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch1

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Edwards, J. (2012) Bilingualism and Multilingualism: Some Central Concepts, in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition (eds T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch1

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Author Information

  1. St. Francis Xavier University, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334906

Online ISBN: 9781118332382

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Keywords:

  • bilingualism;
  • fluency;
  • language;
  • linguistic groups;
  • multilingualism;
  • prescriptivism

Summary

Bilingualism and multilingualism have both de facto existences and important places in the psychological, political, and social debates that define social and ethnic groups, communities, and regions. There are important differences between individual bilingualism and collective or social bilingualism, regardless of whether or not the latter is officially endorsed. This chapter discusses a typological framework of language-contact settings, with particular reference to minority linguistic groups. While the model does not cover all important instances of multilingual contact, it describes many, simply because language contact often involves varieties of unequal strength. Rating scales and tests of fluency, flexibility, and dominance are some tests used to measure bilingualism. There exists a powerful link between language and identity, however – prescriptivism writ large is more a psychosocial matter than a linguistic one.