2. Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Bilingualism and Multilingualism Research

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. Li Wei

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch2

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Wei, L. (2012) Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Bilingualism and Multilingualism Research, 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.ch2

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of London, UK

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;
  • language contact;
  • linguistic perspectives;
  • multilingualism;
  • psycholinguistic approaches;
  • sociolinguistic approaches

Summary

There are three different conceptualizations of a language: as a mental faculty; as a system of structures; and as a social practice. This chapter outlines these conceptualizations of bilingualism and multilingualism, the key research themes and methodological perspectives, as well as the connections between the different perspectives emerged from the existing literature. Psychology, linguistics, and sociology have influenced much of the bilingualism and multilingualism research. Sociolinguistic approaches to bilingualism and multilingualism differ from the psycholinguistic and linguistic perspectives, both in terms of research methodologies and fundamental concerns. The usual consequence of language contact is bilingualism, or even multilingualism, which can be found either in an individual language user or in a society as a whole. The increased amount of bilingualism and multilingualism, at both the individual and societal levels, offers the research community new opportunities to evaluate its knowledge base and develop its theories and models of language and communication.