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LINGUIST List 24.1494

Wed Apr 03 2013

Review: Applied Ling.; General Ling.; Socioling.: Martin-Jones, Blackledge & Creese (2012)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <jsalmonslinguistlist.org>

Date: 04-Mar-2013
From: Caroline Payant <cpayantuidaho.edu>
Subject: The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism
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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/23/23-3051.html

EDITOR: Marilyn Martin-Jones
EDITOR: Adrian Blackledge
EDITOR: Angela Creese
TITLE: The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism
SERIES TITLE: Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
YEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Caroline Payant, University of Idaho

“The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism” edited by Marilyn Martin-Jones,
Adrian Blackledge, and Angela Creese is a wonderfully crafted, comprehensive
text on multilingualism. The 32 chapters, divided into five parts, are
simultaneously situated within local social and political contexts and a
globalized landscape.

At the outset, with ‘A sociolinguistics of multilingualism for our times,’ the
editors introduce the impetus for the present publication: to bring together a
range of works that focus on sociolinguistics and ethnographic research and
embrace post-structuralist perspectives. They discuss current rapid social,
cultural, linguistic, and epistemological changes and advocate for new
research methods that will best capture the intricacies underlying globalized

In Chapter 1, ‘Indigenous contexts’, Donna Patrick addresses the complexities
of defining “Indigenous groups’. She then traces the historical development
of multilingual practices in indigenous contexts and considers their emergence
during pre- and post-colonial times. Patrick advocates for ethnographic
methods that draw on multi/interdisciplinary and community-based approaches
(e.g., descriptive and ethnographic approaches, post-colonial frameworks,
liberal rights and recognition-based approaches, policy studies). The author
engages the reader in critically reflecting on the notion that Indigenous
multilingual practices are not “static, socially bounded groups located in a
timeless past” (p. 46).

Suresh Canagarajah and Indika Liyanage discuss the spontaneous and dynamic
plurilingual landscapes of pre-colonial societies in ‘Lessons from
pre-colonial multilingualism’ (Chapter 2). Following a description of the
linguistic landscapes in pre-colonial South Asia, the authors analyze
plurilingual practices in administrative, religious, and educational contexts.
They maintain that these promote social equality, intercultural contact, and
language maintenance. A better understanding of the successes of pre-colonial
plurilingual communities and the study of modern non-Western communities may
serve to inform modern language policies.

In Chapter 3, ‘Rethinking discourses around the ‘English-cosmopolitan’
correlation: Scenes from formal and informal multilingual educational
contexts’, Vaidehi Ramanathan argues that the discourse underlying
bi/multilingualism has, inadvertently, created dichotomies between other/home
languages and English. Ramanathan urges educators to constantly “find contexts
whereby our collective assumptions about these terms are challenged … not
reproducing the very caveats we are also trying to counter” (p. 87). Drawing
on cases from India, the roles of vernaculars and English are re-evaluated
thus showing the powerful currency of local languages.

In ‘Multilingual citizenship and minority languages’ (Chapter 4), Alexandra
Jaffe illustrates an ideological shift underlying the discourse of language
and citizenship in Corsica -- a shift away from an idealized monolingual
national citizen to an idealized plurilingual European/global citizen. She
shows how the European notion of plurilingualism has informed Corsican
language policy and planning, redefined Corsican language’s market value, and
revitalized its use. Jaffe also shows that by adopting a bi-plurilingual
discourse in education, students’ interest in learning minority languages has
increased, at least in this context.

In Chapter 5, ‘Sign language and the politics of deafness’, Bencie Woll and
Robert Adam draw a parallel between deaf communities and linguistic
minorities: linguistic and cultural oppression. The authors discuss membership
in deaf communities and show its enactment via the linguistic code,
attitudinal identification, solidarity, and participation international
structures. The authors present six case studies of deaf communities around
the globe to inform ways to empower the deaf in Western societies thus
eliminating disparities between deaf and hearing citizens.

In Chapter 6, ‘Discourses about linguistic diversity’, Melanie Cooke and James
Simpson discuss how discourse about linguistic diversity in powerful domains
(e.g., media, politics) has constructed the notion of linguistic diversity as
a threat to national unity and identity. The authors draw on debates and
legislation in the areas of immigration, British identity, national security,
social cohesion, and allocation of resources to exemplify tensions between
multilingual and monolingual discourses.

Stephen May presents Language Rights (LR) as an emerging sub-field of
sociolinguistic inquiry in ‘Language rights: Promoting civic multilingualism’
(Chapter 7). Drawing on advocacy work from Language Ecology, Linguistic Human
Rights, Minority Language Rights, and Critical Sociohistorical/Sociopolitical
Movement, relative power and status differences between majority and minority
languages are discussed. Each movement addresses overarching issues, for
instance language shift/loss, minoritization of languages, language
replacement, and linguistic human rights. While society and politics privilege
and normalize majority languages, a challenge for LR is the recognition of the
benefits attributed to pluralistic linguistic and cultural communities.

In Chapter 8, ‘Indigenous education: Local and global perspectives’, Teresa L.
McCarty and Sheilah E. Nicholas discuss grassroots movements in Indigenous
educational practices and policies as well as their impact on linguistic and
cultural revitalization. After illustrating the diversity and richness of oral
and print literacies in Indigenous education, which have traditionally been
illegitimatized by dominant, homogenizing policies, the authors illustrate
that language revitalization requires multilingualism as practiced by
linguistic minorities. They further discuss language revitalization programs
that promote Indigenous language and culture in tandem with language(s) of
wider communication to reflect local and context-specific needs.

In Chapter 9, ‘Multilingualism in education in post-colonial contexts: A
special focus on sub-Saharan Africa’, Feliciano Chimbutane reviews
post-colonial language policies and planning (LPP). From a historical
perspective, the author shows a shift in LPP from “language-as-a-problem to
language-as-resource orientation” (p. 169). He discusses early colonial
language policies to contextualize post-colonial LPP in sub-Saharan Africa and
shows the lack of success with monolingual nation-state building policies. The
discussion then reviews the emergence of bi-/multilingual policies worldwide
argued to accommodate national, regional, and individual linguistic rights.
Despite efforts to revitalize languages locally, post-colonial countries’
dependency on former colonial powers continues to play an important role on
LPP practices.

Durk Gorter and Jasone Cenoz assess the role of education in the revival of
regional minority languages in ‘Regional minorities, education, and language
revitalization’ (Chapter 10). After describing a typology of language use in
the school curriculum, two analytic frameworks used to study variables
influencing language shift and maintenance in the Basque country are
described, namely Reversing Language Shift and Euromosaic. The role of schools
in language revival is acknowledged; however, conflicting ideologies also
promulgate dominant language use at the expense of minority languages. They
conclude with a call for new and creative approaches to teaching minority

In Chapter 11, ‘Immersion education: En route to multilingualism’, Anne-Marie
de Mejía discusses bilingual and, more recently, multilingual trends in
immersion contexts. Key issues to consider in immersion contexts include L2
development, impact on L1 development, and impact on content knowledge. With
the development of multilingual practices in educational contexts, the author
addresses voiced concerns: sequencing of language instruction, codeswitching,
language choice, and professional development.

In Chapter 12, ‘Linguistic diversity and education’, Christine Hélot argues
that language diversity should not be understood as the introduction of
multiple foreign languages in the curriculum; rather, she advocates for the
coexistence of multiple languages. Integrative approaches to language
diversity can foster positive attitudes towards linguistic and cultural
diversity. Despite the emergence of European plurilinguistic language
policies, issues pertaining to the development of inclusive and tolerant
policies are acknowledged (e.g., multiliteracies, multilingual language

Ofelia García and Nelson Flores discuss in ‘Multilingual pedagogies’ (Chapter
13) how 20th century bilingual educational models fail to meet the demands of
21st century multilingual practices. The authors review four types of
pedagogies and maintain that plurilingual and heteroglossic forms of
instructions are best to promote dynamic forms of in increasingly linguistic
and culturally diverse classrooms. The authors offer concrete pedagogical
examples that motivate us to envision a future linguistic educational model:
plurilingual/heteroglossic classrooms.

In Chapter 14, ‘Global English and bilingual education’, Sheena Gardner
examines the impact that the growth of English as a world language has had on
bilingual education programs. Gardner traces educational trends in early
bilingual education, in content and language integrated learning, and finally,
in English-medium education at the university level. With the rapid
introduction of bilingual programs, English has become a fundamental tool
enabling global citizens to engage and contribute in professional,
educational, and political contexts. To meet the demands of this expansion,
the authors see a pressing need for trained professionals.

In Chapter 15, ‘Multilingualism in the workplace’, Roger Hewitt presents
historical and current economic and social considerations for multilingual
practices in professional settings. While the author notes the striking dearth
of empirical research, he shows that learning English is not the key to
empowerment but that empowerment lies in the critical evaluation of existing
unequal linguistic relations in the workplace. Despite the challenges
associated with multilingual practices in the workplace, Hewitt claims that
plurilingual practices can lead to growth and expansion. This
under-researched/theorized topic offers overwhelming research opportunities.

Ingrid Piller discusses the ways in which linguistic identities, linguistic
proficiencies, and language ideologies mediate social inclusion in
‘Multilingualism and social exclusion’ (Chapter 16). She first examines
earlier conceptualizations of the relationship between linguistic policies and
poverty (i.e., assimilation and linguistic/multilingual provision). Piller
then discusses the linguistic human rights approach that depicts language as
the source of exclusion and argues instead that context-sensitive
considerations of employment policies are critical in fostering social
inclusion. Finally, Piller presents an Australian case study to illustrate a
weak link between advanced linguistic proficiency and economic and/or
professional emancipation.

In Chapter 17, ‘Multilingualism in legal settings’, Katrijn Maryns maintains
that the legal administrative space where language is negotiated and mediated
by interpreters provides an ideal space to examine multilingualism in
practice. Using examples from asylum and criminal cases, she exemplifies how
monolingual ideologies have disadvantaged multilingual participants given that
monolinguals speakers from dominant discourse communities fail to accommodate
the dynamic and unstable nature of multilingualism. With the two case study
analyses in the legal space, we are reminded of the severe negative
ramifications of monolingual ideologies.

In Chapter 18, ‘Multilingualism and public service access: Interpreting in
spoken and signed languages’, Christine W.L. Wilson, Graham H. Turner, and
Isabelle Perez present an overview of interpretation practices and associated
challenges in Public Service Interpreting (PSI). PSI includes legal, health,
education, government, and social services. Using the case of Scotland, the
authors illustrate the benefits of having a legislative framework for
improving multilingual practices in contexts where oral and signed modalities
intersect; however, they argue that policy, research, and training are areas
that merit further serious attention.

The role of media in the propagation of multilingual practices is discussed in
Helen Kelly-Holmes’ ‘Multilingualism and the media’ (Chapter 19). Kelly-Holmes
argues that multilingualism has traditionally taken the form of parallel
monolingualism thus reproducing monolingual language ideologies. With the
emergence of mediatized texts (e.g., emails, blogs), the author argues that
although there is greater evidence of multilingual practices, top-down media
practices continue to transmit parallel monolingual norms. Despite these
tensions, Kelly-Holmes maintains that media is a key site for multilingual
practices that need to be exploited by consumers and producers of media.

In Chapter 20, ‘Multilingualism and religion’, Tope Omoniyi presents three
macro-historical trends and two local trends to illustrate the mutual and
interconnected relationships between language and religious practices. Omoniyi
addresses the spread of religion through colonization giving rise to
“difaithia,” diglossia, and multilingual practices. He also discusses the
impact of colonization on forced and voluntary migration patterns. At the
local level, the author discusses multilingual religious practices as
evidenced by written/oral genres and specific religious activities.

In Chapter 21, ‘Multilingualism and the new economy’, Alexandre Duchene and
Monica Heller argue that the new economy has capitalized on multilingualism by
gaining access to multilingual market and treating multilingualism as a
product and a process of economic practices. The authors highlight the power
of multilingual resources to market products and to maximize capital. In sum,
while individuals may benefit from the new economy, enterprises who manipulate
multilingual resources are the primary benefactors.

In Chapter 22, “Multilingualism on the Internet’, Sirpa Leppanen and Saija
Peuronen explore multilingual practices in computer-mediated communication
(CMC) settings. They review key areas of research: the choice and diversity of
language use in CMC settings and multilingual practices. Empirical findings
show how settings and semiotic strategies impact language choices. Given that
analyses rely primarily on spoken data analysis techniques, the authors prompt
readers for the development and use of methods devised specifically for CMC

In ‘Multilingualism and Popular Culture’ (Chapter 23), Mela Sarkar and Bronwen
Low advocate for bridging the study of multilingualism and popular culture to
identify the when, where, and why of multilingual popular culture. They adopt
a broad definition of popular culture to explain language use in each aspect
of a multilingual speaker’s life. With research focusing primarily on hip-hop
culture, the authors use an example of language mixing in Montreal hip-hop
lyrics to illustrate the production of identity through language mixing.

Global economies and labor markets have afforded women working opportunities.
In Chapter 24, ‘Multilingualism and gender’, Kimie Takahashi explores the
(re)production of gendered identities in two transnational spaces. In the
first, global politics of reproductive labor, the reproduction of inequalities
based on class, race, citizenship, and gender are illustrated with the case of
migrant workers and skilled professionals. In the second, intimate relations,
gendered ideologies and multilingualism are examined. Takahashi discusses how
international language education and materials perpetuate sexist discourse
that delegitimizes women.

In Chapter 25, ‘Disinventing multilingualism: From monological multilingualism
to multilingual francas’, Sinfree Makoni and Alastair Pennycook inspire
readers to question the conceptualization of language and multilingual
practices. They argue that the codification of language, a western invention,
has created a static, language/languages divide. They further assert that
despite recent efforts to challenge the monolingual bias, we are dangerously
close to promoting ‘plural monolingualism’. They contend that a more
productive understanding of language lies in the notion of multilingualism as
a lingua franca where language is a “multilayered chain that is constantly
combined and recombined” (p. 447). The authors argue that by treating
languages as historical constructs, we can implement social and political
change. Furthermore, the relationship between languages in local and global
settings can be better understood by advocating for monolingualism of humanity
that stresses locality and agency.

In Chapter 26, ‘Multilingualism and emotions’, Aneta Pavlenko proposes an
approach to the study of emotions that draws on research from linguistics,
anthropology, psychology, and neurobiology. Pavlenko first presents two key
insights that have informed research on multilingualism and emotions. First,
she argues that L2 acquisition, unlike L1 acquisition, fails to evoke
emotional reactions. Second, she contends that speakers of different languages
experience and internalize emotions differently. In sum, Pavlenko argues that
emotions impact and shape bilingual speakers’ language choices and that
cross-linguistic differences impact multilingual speakers’ self-perceptions.

In Chapter 27, ‘Codeswitching’, Angel Y.M. Lin and David C.S. Li criticize
research on codeswitching (CS) that provides static and subjective
interpretations of CS (i.e., quantifying and codifying CS). They maintain that
interactional sociolinguistics, conversational analysis, and critical social
theory provide microanalyses of discourse that highlights the negotiation of
role-relationships, cultural values, and identities between interlocutors.
Microanalyses can uncover and challenge the reproduction of societal
ideologies and hierarchies. Finally, Lin and Li contend that there is a lack
of innovation in CS research. They thus solicit holistic, longitudinal, and
interventionist action research in order to identify useful CS strategies thus
benefiting the potential of bilingual/multilingual classroom communication.

In Chapter 28, ‘Crossing’, Ben Rampton and Constadina Charalambous explore
another type of plurilingual practice, linguistic crossing. They argue that
crossing has significance “in the moment-to-moment development of the talk”
(p. 484). The chapter examines three themes: (1) race or ethnic differences,
(2) public discourses, media representation, and (3) non-routine ‘keyed’
interactional moments and activities as sites for crossing. The notion of
crossing is then exemplified by Cyprus where Greek and Turkish Cypriots have a
long history of conflict.

In ‘Heteroglossia’ (Chapter 29), Benjamin Bailey draws on Bakhtin’s (1981)
notion of heteroglossia, which subsumes multilingualism, to capture the
complexities of signs and the creation of meanings. He maintains that with
each spoken utterance, we are engaged in the (re)construction of meaning.
Bailey draws on this philosophy of language to offer an analysis of a short
interaction between multilingual speakers. He claims that by adopting a
Bakhtinian lens, linguistic forms and historical social relations can be
brought to life.

In Chapter 30,‘Multilingual literacies’ Doris S. Warriner provides an overview
of the vast amount of research in multilingual literacy. She shows the
connection between earlier research and the creation of a methodological
framework, continua of biliteracy, that has provided educators and researchers
with tools for evaluating educational programs. Early work also drew on
anthropological perspectives and language socialization to examine the
emergence of literacy practices with two languages. Today, research examines
teaching and learning processes and the study of multilingual literacy has
prompted work in language policy and planning. In the final section, Warriner
discusses current and future research, which examines intersecting local and
global practices and trends (i.e., transnationalism and new media

In Chapter 31 ‘Multilingualism and multimodality’, Vally Lytra illustrates the
benefits of adopting a multimodal lens for conducting multilingual research
which ties oral practices to gestures, artistic, linguistic, digital, and
electronic forms of communication. The author maintains that identities are
negotiated across space and contexts, which regroups modes and media. Drawing
on findings from an empirical, ethnographic research in a Turkish literacy
classroom, she exemplifies how students navigate across forms of literacies
and multimodalities.

In Chapter 32, ‘Linguistic landscapes and multilingualism”, Elana Shohamy
provides an overview of Linguistic Landscape (LL) research, which examines
practices in cities and neighborhoods and compares LL across cities nationally
and cross-nationally. Other foci include the impact of globalization,
manifestation of identity via LL, LL in rapidly changing spaces, and
connections between top-down official language policies. Turning to public
spaces and educational settings, LL are rich and fluid spaces that provide
insights regarding meaning-making processes, an area that welcomes future

The publication of a handbook dedicated to multilingualism from a
sociolinguistic lens is “evidence that the field has achieved a certain level
of maturity and recognition” (Sarkar & Low, p.403). The handbook covers a
breadth of issues and highlights the complexities underlying the
conceptualization of what multilingualism is, how to approach the study of
multilingual practices, and where the future of multilingual studies will take
us. The dominant sociolinguistic orientation to the text is refreshing and
will complement cognitive research in multilingual representation and
production. The volume helps the readers appreciate the importance of studying
multilingual practices in fluid and local settings that are embedded in larger
global settings.

The text is clearly organized and presents a breadth of topics and issues. As
a whole, the text clearly illustrates the complex issues underlying the study
of multilingual practices. The editors divided the 32 chapters into five
parts: (1) Discourses about multilingualism, across political and historical
contexts, (2) Multilingualism and education, (3) Multilingualism in other
institutional sites, (4) Multilingualism in social and cultural change, and
(5) Situated practices, lived realities. Throughout each section, there are
common themes, conundrums, and challenges; however, each section offers the
inspection of these in relation to specific geographic, institutional, social,
and political settings. In Part I, the discussions challenge the monolingual
norm observed in various contexts: multilingual/plurilingual practices in
indigenous, pre-colonial, non-Western, European, and deaf communities. For
researchers and individuals interested in maintaining and/or promoting
linguistic diversity, the discussions may stir feelings of frustration towards
dominant discourse practices found in political and educational contexts and
may urge readers to re-evaluate and problematize the oppressive nature of
otherizing discourses. In Part II, ‘Multilingualism and education’, the
readings focus on multilingual and plurilingual practices in a variety of
educational contexts. An overarching argument echoes throughout: Language
policies and educational institutions must foster bi-/multilingual and
plurilingual practices that unite languages and users while creating
heterogeneous landscapes. While the authors acknowledge the challenges of
adopting plurilingual practices, they stress the long-term benefits of
language inclusion and revitalization. The call for examining multilingual
practices is not confined to the educational context. In Part III,
‘Multilingualism in other institutional sites’, the editors grouped six
theoretical pieces that consider multilingual rights and practices in private
and public spaces. The choice of the term ‘other institutional sites’, albeit
vague, is an important reminder of the need to look at unique and
underexplored settings, such as the legal settings, the media, and public
service. Failure to develop adequate policies will disenfranchise individuals
who require greater institutional and political support than pupils may. In
Part IV ‘Multilingualism in social and cultural change’, the topics are
current, invigorating, and attractive. The connection to multilingual
practices in the new economy, on the Internet, and in popular culture is
successful in highlighting local and global practices. This section includes
some data that clearly exemplifies the interaction between languages, genres,
modalities, and contexts. Finally, in Part V, ‘Situated practices, lived
realities’, the editors included discussions that challenge current
conceptualization of multilingualism. Readers are encouraged to revisit and
move away from simplified understandings of mono- and multilingual concepts
and embrace broader understandings of language interaction across communities.

Each chapter follows a concise and informative format. Each chapter includes
future research areas and an overview of related topics. As for the list of
recommended readings, the authors selected current and relevant readings.
Overall, each chapter offers current and fresh perspectives. Moreover, one of
the strengths of this text is the coverage of geographical spaces and
linguistic spaces. The discussions address sociopolitical issues in Australia,
Bali, the Basque country, Canada, Corsica, India, Indigenous contexts, Japan,
Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Paraguay, Spain, Sub-Saharan Africa, United
States to name a few -- evidence that multilingualism is the norm in the

The topics presented are of significance to everyone. Increasing an awareness
of multilingual policies and practices in educational, political, and social
contexts that transcend oral modalities will benefit our global societies.
That said, the heavy use of jargon is intended for a narrow audience already
immersed to ideas and concepts underlying language in society. The handbook is
thus better suited for researchers, policymakers, and advanced graduate
students who are interested in examining current issues. There is, however,
the potential for the inclusion of select chapters is teacher training courses
and undergraduate courses in sociolinguists. For example, Mejia’s discussion
of immersion education addresses relevant issues pertaining to pedagogy and
codeswitching and suggests some guidelines for teacher education courses.
Undergraduates may find discussions that speak to their idiosyncratic
realities, and faculty may consider including some chapters. For instance,
multilingual practices in media (Chapter 19), on the Internet (Chapter 22),
and in rap music in the Canadian context (Chapter 23) may be appealing and
authentic to younger, less experienced audiences.

The editors are cognizant that research in the field of multilingualism has
changed in the last decades. With these changes, there is an impetus for
(re)defining and operationalizing concepts and with this, methods of
investigation are being redefined. As a result, readers will note that
throughout the handbook, several authors attempt to operationalize
“multilingualism”. For instance, in Chapter 2, Canagarajah and Liyanage
distinguish between multilingualism and plurilingualism where the former
attempts to keep languages separate whereas the latter “allows for the
interaction and mutual influence of the languages in a more dynamic way” (p.
50). Makoni and Pennycook (Chapter 25) question older and more traditional
categorization of language (e.g., varieties, codeswitching, bilingualism,
multilingualism, etc.) and maintain that “there are strong reasons to question
the very notion of language as a discrete entity that is describable in terms
of core and variation” (p. 449). As such, terms such as urbi- and
metro-lingualism are preferred. In Chapter 29, Bailey argues that
multilingualism in inadequate in capturing the complexities of the use of
signs and the tensions in using these. Instead, drawing on Bahktin, he prefers
to term heteroglossia. This discussion, while fruitful, may be frustrating to
less experienced readers who may be unclear in terms of future directions.
While it may be atypical to include glossaries in an extensive handbook, to
expand the readership of this text, providing a glossary of concepts that
being revisited and (re)conceptualized could have been a nice addition.

The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism is a great addition to the field,
providing an array of valuable discussions, especially theoretical ones.
Despite the ubiquity of multilingualism in the world, research on multilingual
practices remains the marked area of investigation and ideas for future
research are presented in practically each chapter. Perhaps one day in the
near future multilingualism will be appreciated as a sign of empowerment
instead of a threat to monolingual identities.

Caroline Payant is an assistant professor in the M.A. TESL program at the
University of Idaho. She received her M.A. from the Universidad de las
Américas Puebla in Mexico and her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Georgia
State University. Her areas of interests include cognitive and sociocultural
aspects of language acquisition as well as teacher education. Prior to joining
the University of Idaho faculty, Caroline taught courses in the Applied
Linguistics program as well as ESL classes in the Intensive English Program at
Georgia State University. She has also taught French, Spanish, and English
language courses to children and adults in Mexico and Canada.
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