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 <>

Date: 04-Mar-2013
From: Caroline Payant <>
Subject: The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism
E-mail this message to a friend

Discuss this message

Book announced at

EDITOR: Marilyn Martin-JonesEDITOR: Adrian BlackledgeEDITOR: Angela CreeseTITLE: The Routledge Handbook of MultilingualismSERIES TITLE: Routledge Handbooks in Applied LinguisticsPUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)YEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Caroline Payant, University of Idaho

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

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

In Chapter 1, ‘Indigenous contexts’, Donna Patrick addresses the complexitiesof defining “Indigenous groups’. She then traces the historical developmentof multilingual practices in indigenous contexts and considers their emergenceduring pre- and post-colonial times. Patrick advocates for ethnographicmethods 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 authorengages the reader in critically reflecting on the notion that Indigenousmultilingual practices are not “static, socially bounded groups located in atimeless past” (p. 46).

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

In Chapter 3, ‘Rethinking discourses around the ‘English-cosmopolitan’correlation: Scenes from formal and informal multilingual educationalcontexts’, Vaidehi Ramanathan argues that the discourse underlyingbi/multilingualism has, inadvertently, created dichotomies between other/homelanguages and English. Ramanathan urges educators to constantly “find contextswhereby our collective assumptions about these terms are challenged … notreproducing the very caveats we are also trying to counter” (p. 87). Drawingon cases from India, the roles of vernaculars and English are re-evaluatedthus showing the powerful currency of local languages.

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

In Chapter 5, ‘Sign language and the politics of deafness’, Bencie Woll andRobert Adam draw a parallel between deaf communities and linguisticminorities: linguistic and cultural oppression. The authors discuss membershipin deaf communities and show its enactment via the linguistic code,attitudinal identification, solidarity, and participation internationalstructures. The authors present six case studies of deaf communities aroundthe globe to inform ways to empower the deaf in Western societies thuseliminating disparities between deaf and hearing citizens.

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

Stephen May presents Language Rights (LR) as an emerging sub-field ofsociolinguistic inquiry in ‘Language rights: Promoting civic multilingualism’(Chapter 7). Drawing on advocacy work from Language Ecology, Linguistic HumanRights, Minority Language Rights, and Critical Sociohistorical/SociopoliticalMovement, relative power and status differences between majority and minoritylanguages are discussed. Each movement addresses overarching issues, forinstance language shift/loss, minoritization of languages, languagereplacement, and linguistic human rights. While society and politics privilegeand normalize majority languages, a challenge for LR is the recognition of thebenefits 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 Indigenouseducational practices and policies as well as their impact on linguistic andcultural revitalization. After illustrating the diversity and richness of oraland print literacies in Indigenous education, which have traditionally beenillegitimatized by dominant, homogenizing policies, the authors illustratethat language revitalization requires multilingualism as practiced bylinguistic minorities. They further discuss language revitalization programsthat promote Indigenous language and culture in tandem with language(s) ofwider communication to reflect local and context-specific needs.

In Chapter 9, ‘Multilingualism in education in post-colonial contexts: Aspecial focus on sub-Saharan Africa’, Feliciano Chimbutane reviewspost-colonial language policies and planning (LPP). From a historicalperspective, the author shows a shift in LPP from “language-as-a-problem tolanguage-as-resource orientation” (p. 169). He discusses early coloniallanguage policies to contextualize post-colonial LPP in sub-Saharan Africa andshows the lack of success with monolingual nation-state building policies. Thediscussion then reviews the emergence of bi-/multilingual policies worldwideargued 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 onLPP practices.

Durk Gorter and Jasone Cenoz assess the role of education in the revival ofregional minority languages in ‘Regional minorities, education, and languagerevitalization’ (Chapter 10). After describing a typology of language use inthe school curriculum, two analytic frameworks used to study variablesinfluencing language shift and maintenance in the Basque country aredescribed, namely Reversing Language Shift and Euromosaic. The role of schoolsin language revival is acknowledged; however, conflicting ideologies alsopromulgate dominant language use at the expense of minority languages. Theyconclude with a call for new and creative approaches to teaching minoritylanguages.

In Chapter 11, ‘Immersion education: En route to multilingualism’, Anne-Mariede Mejía discusses bilingual and, more recently, multilingual trends inimmersion contexts. Key issues to consider in immersion contexts include L2development, impact on L1 development, and impact on content knowledge. Withthe development of multilingual practices in educational contexts, the authoraddresses voiced concerns: sequencing of language instruction, codeswitching,language choice, and professional development.

In Chapter 12, ‘Linguistic diversity and education’, Christine Hélot arguesthat language diversity should not be understood as the introduction ofmultiple foreign languages in the curriculum; rather, she advocates for thecoexistence of multiple languages. Integrative approaches to languagediversity can foster positive attitudes towards linguistic and culturaldiversity. Despite the emergence of European plurilinguistic languagepolicies, issues pertaining to the development of inclusive and tolerantpolicies are acknowledged (e.g., multiliteracies, multilingual languageawareness).

Ofelia García and Nelson Flores discuss in ‘Multilingual pedagogies’ (Chapter13) how 20th century bilingual educational models fail to meet the demands of21st century multilingual practices. The authors review four types ofpedagogies and maintain that plurilingual and heteroglossic forms ofinstructions are best to promote dynamic forms of in increasingly linguisticand culturally diverse classrooms. The authors offer concrete pedagogicalexamples that motivate us to envision a future linguistic educational model:plurilingual/heteroglossic classrooms.

In Chapter 14, ‘Global English and bilingual education’, Sheena Gardnerexamines the impact that the growth of English as a world language has had onbilingual education programs. Gardner traces educational trends in earlybilingual education, in content and language integrated learning, and finally,in English-medium education at the university level. With the rapidintroduction of bilingual programs, English has become a fundamental toolenabling 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 presentshistorical and current economic and social considerations for multilingualpractices in professional settings. While the author notes the striking dearthof empirical research, he shows that learning English is not the key toempowerment but that empowerment lies in the critical evaluation of existingunequal linguistic relations in the workplace. Despite the challengesassociated with multilingual practices in the workplace, Hewitt claims thatplurilingual practices can lead to growth and expansion. Thisunder-researched/theorized topic offers overwhelming research opportunities.

Ingrid Piller discusses the ways in which linguistic identities, linguisticproficiencies, and language ideologies mediate social inclusion in‘Multilingualism and social exclusion’ (Chapter 16). She first examinesearlier conceptualizations of the relationship between linguistic policies andpoverty (i.e., assimilation and linguistic/multilingual provision). Pillerthen discusses the linguistic human rights approach that depicts language asthe source of exclusion and argues instead that context-sensitiveconsiderations of employment policies are critical in fostering socialinclusion. Finally, Piller presents an Australian case study to illustrate aweak link between advanced linguistic proficiency and economic and/orprofessional emancipation.

In Chapter 17, ‘Multilingualism in legal settings’, Katrijn Maryns maintainsthat the legal administrative space where language is negotiated and mediatedby interpreters provides an ideal space to examine multilingualism inpractice. Using examples from asylum and criminal cases, she exemplifies howmonolingual ideologies have disadvantaged multilingual participants given thatmonolinguals speakers from dominant discourse communities fail to accommodatethe dynamic and unstable nature of multilingualism. With the two case studyanalyses in the legal space, we are reminded of the severe negativeramifications of monolingual ideologies.

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

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

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

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

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

In ‘Multilingualism and Popular Culture’ (Chapter 23), Mela Sarkar and BronwenLow advocate for bridging the study of multilingualism and popular culture toidentify the when, where, and why of multilingual popular culture. They adopta broad definition of popular culture to explain language use in each aspectof a multilingual speaker’s life. With research focusing primarily on hip-hopculture, the authors use an example of language mixing in Montreal hip-hoplyrics 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 thefirst, global politics of reproductive labor, the reproduction of inequalitiesbased on class, race, citizenship, and gender are illustrated with the case ofmigrant workers and skilled professionals. In the second, intimate relations,gendered ideologies and multilingualism are examined. Takahashi discusses howinternational language education and materials perpetuate sexist discoursethat delegitimizes women.

In Chapter 25, ‘Disinventing multilingualism: From monological multilingualismto multilingual francas’, Sinfree Makoni and Alastair Pennycook inspirereaders to question the conceptualization of language and multilingualpractices. They argue that the codification of language, a western invention,has created a static, language/languages divide. They further assert thatdespite recent efforts to challenge the monolingual bias, we are dangerouslyclose to promoting ‘plural monolingualism’. They contend that a moreproductive understanding of language lies in the notion of multilingualism asa lingua franca where language is a “multilayered chain that is constantlycombined and recombined” (p. 447). The authors argue that by treatinglanguages as historical constructs, we can implement social and politicalchange. Furthermore, the relationship between languages in local and globalsettings can be better understood by advocating for monolingualism of humanitythat stresses locality and agency.

In Chapter 26, ‘Multilingualism and emotions’, Aneta Pavlenko proposes anapproach to the study of emotions that draws on research from linguistics,anthropology, psychology, and neurobiology. Pavlenko first presents two keyinsights that have informed research on multilingualism and emotions. First,she argues that L2 acquisition, unlike L1 acquisition, fails to evokeemotional reactions. Second, she contends that speakers of different languagesexperience and internalize emotions differently. In sum, Pavlenko argues thatemotions impact and shape bilingual speakers’ language choices and thatcross-linguistic differences impact multilingual speakers’ self-perceptions.

In Chapter 27, ‘Codeswitching’, Angel Y.M. Lin and David C.S. Li criticizeresearch on codeswitching (CS) that provides static and subjectiveinterpretations of CS (i.e., quantifying and codifying CS). They maintain thatinteractional sociolinguistics, conversational analysis, and critical socialtheory provide microanalyses of discourse that highlights the negotiation ofrole-relationships, cultural values, and identities between interlocutors.Microanalyses can uncover and challenge the reproduction of societalideologies and hierarchies. Finally, Lin and Li contend that there is a lackof innovation in CS research. They thus solicit holistic, longitudinal, andinterventionist action research in order to identify useful CS strategies thusbenefiting the potential of bilingual/multilingual classroom communication.

In Chapter 28, ‘Crossing’, Ben Rampton and Constadina Charalambous exploreanother type of plurilingual practice, linguistic crossing. They argue thatcrossing 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 ofcrossing is then exemplified by Cyprus where Greek and Turkish Cypriots have along history of conflict.

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

In Chapter 30,‘Multilingual literacies’ Doris S. Warriner provides an overviewof the vast amount of research in multilingual literacy. She shows theconnection between earlier research and the creation of a methodologicalframework, continua of biliteracy, that has provided educators and researcherswith tools for evaluating educational programs. Early work also drew onanthropological perspectives and language socialization to examine theemergence of literacy practices with two languages. Today, research examinesteaching and learning processes and the study of multilingual literacy hasprompted work in language policy and planning. In the final section, Warrinerdiscusses current and future research, which examines intersecting local andglobal practices and trends (i.e., transnationalism and new mediacommunication).

In Chapter 31 ‘Multilingualism and multimodality’, Vally Lytra illustrates thebenefits of adopting a multimodal lens for conducting multilingual researchwhich ties oral practices to gestures, artistic, linguistic, digital, andelectronic forms of communication. The author maintains that identities arenegotiated across space and contexts, which regroups modes and media. Drawingon findings from an empirical, ethnographic research in a Turkish literacyclassroom, she exemplifies how students navigate across forms of literaciesand multimodalities.

In Chapter 32, ‘Linguistic landscapes and multilingualism”, Elana Shohamyprovides an overview of Linguistic Landscape (LL) research, which examinespractices in cities and neighborhoods and compares LL across cities nationallyand cross-nationally. Other foci include the impact of globalization,manifestation of identity via LL, LL in rapidly changing spaces, andconnections between top-down official language policies. Turning to publicspaces and educational settings, LL are rich and fluid spaces that provideinsights regarding meaning-making processes, an area that welcomes futureresearch.

EVALUATIONThe publication of a handbook dedicated to multilingualism from asociolinguistic lens is “evidence that the field has achieved a certain levelof maturity and recognition” (Sarkar & Low, p.403). The handbook covers abreadth of issues and highlights the complexities underlying theconceptualization of what multilingualism is, how to approach the study ofmultilingual practices, and where the future of multilingual studies will takeus. The dominant sociolinguistic orientation to the text is refreshing andwill complement cognitive research in multilingual representation andproduction. The volume helps the readers appreciate the importance of studyingmultilingual practices in fluid and local settings that are embedded in largerglobal settings.

The text is clearly organized and presents a breadth of topics and issues. Asa whole, the text clearly illustrates the complex issues underlying the studyof multilingual practices. The editors divided the 32 chapters into fiveparts: (1) Discourses about multilingualism, across political and historicalcontexts, (2) Multilingualism and education, (3) Multilingualism in otherinstitutional sites, (4) Multilingualism in social and cultural change, and(5) Situated practices, lived realities. Throughout each section, there arecommon themes, conundrums, and challenges; however, each section offers theinspection of these in relation to specific geographic, institutional, social,and political settings. In Part I, the discussions challenge the monolingualnorm observed in various contexts: multilingual/plurilingual practices inindigenous, pre-colonial, non-Western, European, and deaf communities. Forresearchers and individuals interested in maintaining and/or promotinglinguistic diversity, the discussions may stir feelings of frustration towardsdominant discourse practices found in political and educational contexts andmay urge readers to re-evaluate and problematize the oppressive nature ofotherizing discourses. In Part II, ‘Multilingualism and education’, thereadings focus on multilingual and plurilingual practices in a variety ofeducational contexts. An overarching argument echoes throughout: Languagepolicies and educational institutions must foster bi-/multilingual andplurilingual practices that unite languages and users while creatingheterogeneous landscapes. While the authors acknowledge the challenges ofadopting plurilingual practices, they stress the long-term benefits oflanguage inclusion and revitalization. The call for examining multilingualpractices is not confined to the educational context. In Part III,‘Multilingualism in other institutional sites’, the editors grouped sixtheoretical pieces that consider multilingual rights and practices in privateand public spaces. The choice of the term ‘other institutional sites’, albeitvague, is an important reminder of the need to look at unique andunderexplored settings, such as the legal settings, the media, and publicservice. Failure to develop adequate policies will disenfranchise individualswho require greater institutional and political support than pupils may. InPart IV ‘Multilingualism in social and cultural change’, the topics arecurrent, invigorating, and attractive. The connection to multilingualpractices in the new economy, on the Internet, and in popular culture issuccessful in highlighting local and global practices. This section includessome data that clearly exemplifies the interaction between languages, genres,modalities, and contexts. Finally, in Part V, ‘Situated practices, livedrealities’, the editors included discussions that challenge currentconceptualization of multilingualism. Readers are encouraged to revisit andmove away from simplified understandings of mono- and multilingual conceptsand embrace broader understandings of language interaction across communities.

Each chapter follows a concise and informative format. Each chapter includesfuture research areas and an overview of related topics. As for the list ofrecommended readings, the authors selected current and relevant readings.Overall, each chapter offers current and fresh perspectives. Moreover, one ofthe strengths of this text is the coverage of geographical spaces andlinguistic 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, UnitedStates to name a few -- evidence that multilingualism is the norm in theworld.

The topics presented are of significance to everyone. Increasing an awarenessof multilingual policies and practices in educational, political, and socialcontexts that transcend oral modalities will benefit our global societies.That said, the heavy use of jargon is intended for a narrow audience alreadyimmersed to ideas and concepts underlying language in society. The handbook isthus better suited for researchers, policymakers, and advanced graduatestudents who are interested in examining current issues. There is, however,the potential for the inclusion of select chapters is teacher training coursesand undergraduate courses in sociolinguists. For example, Mejia’s discussionof immersion education addresses relevant issues pertaining to pedagogy andcodeswitching and suggests some guidelines for teacher education courses.Undergraduates may find discussions that speak to their idiosyncraticrealities, 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 andauthentic to younger, less experienced audiences.

The editors are cognizant that research in the field of multilingualism haschanged in the last decades. With these changes, there is an impetus for(re)defining and operationalizing concepts and with this, methods ofinvestigation are being redefined. As a result, readers will note thatthroughout the handbook, several authors attempt to operationalize“multilingualism”. For instance, in Chapter 2, Canagarajah and Liyanagedistinguish between multilingualism and plurilingualism where the formerattempts to keep languages separate whereas the latter “allows for theinteraction and mutual influence of the languages in a more dynamic way” (p.50). Makoni and Pennycook (Chapter 25) question older and more traditionalcategorization of language (e.g., varieties, codeswitching, bilingualism,multilingualism, etc.) and maintain that “there are strong reasons to questionthe very notion of language as a discrete entity that is describable in termsof core and variation” (p. 449). As such, terms such as urbi- andmetro-lingualism are preferred. In Chapter 29, Bailey argues thatmultilingualism in inadequate in capturing the complexities of the use ofsigns and the tensions in using these. Instead, drawing on Bahktin, he prefersto term heteroglossia. This discussion, while fruitful, may be frustrating toless experienced readers who may be unclear in terms of future directions.While it may be atypical to include glossaries in an extensive handbook, toexpand the readership of this text, providing a glossary of concepts thatbeing 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 multilingualpractices remains the marked area of investigation and ideas for futureresearch are presented in practically each chapter. Perhaps one day in thenear future multilingualism will be appreciated as a sign of empowermentinstead of a threat to monolingual identities.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERCaroline Payant is an assistant professor in the M.A. TESL program at theUniversity of Idaho. She received her M.A. from the Universidad de lasAméricas Puebla in Mexico and her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from GeorgiaState University. Her areas of interests include cognitive and socioculturalaspects of language acquisition as well as teacher education. Prior to joiningthe University of Idaho faculty, Caroline taught courses in the AppliedLinguistics program as well as ESL classes in the Intensive English Program atGeorgia State University. She has also taught French, Spanish, and Englishlanguage courses to children and adults in Mexico and Canada.

Page Updated: 03-Apr-2013