Introducing Multilingualism : A Social Approach book cover
2nd Edition

Introducing Multilingualism
A Social Approach

ISBN 9781138244498
Published September 6, 2017 by Routledge
324 Pages

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Book Description

Introducing Multilingualism is a comprehensive and user-friendly introduction to the dynamic field of multilingualism. Adopting a compelling social and critical approach and covering important social and educational issues, the authors expertly guide readers through the established theories, leading them to question dominant discourses on subjects such as integration, heritage and language testing. This second edition has been fully revised and updated, featuring new chapters on multilingualism in new media, the workplace and the family. Other key topics include:

  • language as a social construct
  • language contact and variation
  • language and identity
  • the differences between individual and societal multilingualism
  • translanguaging
  • flexible multilingual education.

With a wide range of engaging activities and quizzes and a comprehensive selection of case studies from around the world, this is essential reading for undergraduate students and postgraduate students new to studying multilingualism.

Table of Contents


Part I: Theoretical and methodological considerations

Chapter 1: Introduction

A social approach to multilingualism

A note on terminology

Coping with change

How the book is structured

Chapter 2: Theoretical and methodological framework

The construction of meaning

Dominant vs. critical readings

Towards an ethnographically based discourse analysis

The study of language ideologies


Part II: Multilingualism within and across languages

Chapter 3: What is a language?

Discourse models of language

What is standard English?

‘English’ is a mere label

The fuzzy boundaries of named languages

Consequences for teaching

Consequences for research


Chapter 4: Language variation and the spread of global languages

African-American English

Caribbean ‘nation language’


The global spread of English

Two French youth languages


Chapter 5: Revitalization of endangered languages

Australian Aboriginal languages: a history of oppression

Māori in New Zealand: a revitalization success story

Sámi and Kven in Norway: differential positionings on the success-failure continuum

Hebrew in Israel: the costs of revitalization

Breton in France: how (not) to standardize

Corsican and the polynomic paradigm


Part III: Societal and individual multilingualism

Chapter 6: Societal multilingualism




Hong Kong and China

South Africa



Chapter 7: Language and identities


Gee’s four ways to view identity

Identity: a peach or an onion?

Ethnic and national identity

Code-switching and identity

Translanguaging identities


Chapter 8: The interplay between individual and societal

The Canadian policy of bilingualism and

Some consequences for First Nations people

Quebec francophone nationalism

Individual bilingualism through institutional monolingualism

Exclusion through French, inclusion through English

Shifting ideologies

Conclusion: the commodification of language

Part IV: Multilingualism in education and other institutional sites

Chapter 9: Flexible vs. fixed multilingualism

US vs. EU language-in-education policy

Case Study 1: Luxembourg

Case Study 2: Catalonia and the Basque Country

Discussion and conclusion: towards flexible multilingualism

Chapter 10: Mother tongue education or literacy bridges?

The case for mother tongue education:
African-American English

The case against mother tongue education
(in four steps): South Africa

The problems with mother tongue education

Towards literacy bridges

Conclusion: a possible solution for South Africa

Chapter 11: Heritage language education

From mother tongue education to heritage language

Language and heritage in the United States

Language and heritage in England

The dominance of the standard language and purist

Discussion and conclusion: implications for the
EU policy of multilingualism

12        Multilingualism in other institutional sites

Multilingualism in the workplace

Multilingualism in legal settings and asylum procedures

Language use in multilingual families

Part V: Critical analysis of discourses

Chapter 13: Institutional discourses on language and migration

The discourse of integration

Language testing and citizenship

Conclusion: unpacking the discourses of integration and language testing

Chapter 14: Media representations of multilingualism

Past vs. present perceptions of multilingualism in the media

Firwat ass alles schief gaangen?: responses to
Luxembourg’s PISA results

Constructing the UK as an English-only space

The English Only movement in the US

Conclusion: a historical perspective on the one nation–one language ideology

Chapter 15: Multilingualism in the new media

New media sociolinguistics

Digital ethnography

Language contact phenomena in digital language

The limited multilingualism of the Internet

Language policing in the social media


Chapter 16: Linguistic landscape

Limitations of (some) linguistic landscape analyses

Language contact phenomena on multilingual signs

Some basic distinctions

Contextualizing and historicizing linguistic landscapes

Exploring the context of reception

Discussion and conclusion: discourses in place

Part VI: Further directions in the study of multilingualism

Chapter 17: Conclusion

Further directions in the study of multilingualism

Moving into a multilingual future

Normalizing multilingualism

Notes on the activities

Notes on the quizzes

Author index

Subject index

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Kristine Horner is Reader in Luxembourg Studies and Multilingualism at the University of Sheffield, where she is also Director of the Centre for Luxembourg Studies. Her upcoming publications include a new edition of The German-speaking World (2018).

Jean-Jacques Weber is Professor of English and Education at the University of Luxembourg. His most recent book publications are Language Racism (2015) and Flexible Multilingual Education: Putting Children’s Needs First (2014).