Multilinguals are people who use several languages in their everyday life.
Most people around the world are multilinguals, although awareness about
multilinguals has only recently stepped into the limelight wherever several
languages are used, from London and Amsterdam to New York and California.
Being a fresh focus of attention, multilinguals arouse attitudes which are
extremely diverse: some consider them gifted or unusually intelligent,
while others fear that they lack competence in any one language. This can
lead to conflicting advice about multilingual education, language policies,
and multilingualism itself at home, in school, and in speech-language clinics.
This is the first book which discusses, in lay terms, the reasons behind
the beliefs and myths traditionally associated with multilinguals. It is
written for the general public and is relevant for families, teachers, and
anyone who ever wondered about multilingualism. The style is light, often
witty, but founded on a thorough knowledge of solid academic research on
this subject. The book is abundantly illustrated and includes many cartoons.
“This is a breath of fresh air in a field which desperately needs
ventilation. It blows away the myths and fantasies about multilingualism,
and puts in their place a perspective of sound common sense, grounded in
the daily experience of living a life in which several languages form a
natural part. For anyone who has ever been uncertain about multilingualism,
worried about it, or misrepresented it, this lively and accessible overview
is the perfect reality check.”
Professor David Crystal, author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.
“Madalena Cruz-Ferreira has crafted a down-to-earth, fun, accessible, and
highly informed treatise on multilingualism. The book addresses a wide
range of misconceptions about multilingualism in a humorous and
entertaining way, and should be required reading for teachers,
professionals, and the rest of us who work closely with groups and
individuals who use multiple languages!”
Professor Jeff MacSwan, Applied Linguistics, Arizona State University
Multilinguals are ...?
1. It’s a multilingual world, but multilinguals are the odd ones out
2. Multilinguals must have balanced languages, but one of them must be
3. Multilinguals must develop one main language, but that won’t let them
develop other languages
4. Multilinguals have no mother tongue, because they are not native
speakers of any language
5. Multilinguals can learn new languages easily, but only in childhood
6. Multilingual competence means erasing signs of multilingualism from the
speech of multilinguals
7. Multilinguals don’t have many languages, they have many half-languages
8. Becoming multilingual is both a drain and a strain on your brain
9. Growing up multilingual is no problem, provided you seek clinical
10. In order to raise multilingual children, you must speak to them in only
11. Multilingualism should be encouraged, but only in languages that matter
12. Multilinguals are multilinguals because they are gifted for languages
13. Multilingualism is a boon, but also a bane, or vice versa
What are we talking about, really??