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Review of  The Many Faces of Multilingualism

Reviewer: Hatice Altun
Book Title: The Many Faces of Multilingualism
Book Author: Piotr Romanowski Martin Guardado
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Issue Number: 32.2331

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The book ''The Many Faces of Multilingualism: Language Status, Learning and Use Across Contexts,'' edited by Piotr Romanovski and Martin Guardado, is divided into two main parts dealing with multilingualism from sociolinguistic and pedagogical points of view, respectively. The first part (Chapters 2-6, pp. 11-108) adopts a sociolinguistic perspective when analyzing the concepts of multilingualism and plurilingualism as the complex new age phenomena that characterize today’s societies becoming even more 'super diverse' every day in several unprecedented ways. Chapter 2 explores the linguistic landscape of Poland, particularly the repercussions of multilingualism in the education system. Chapter 3 focuses on the cases of language contact, maintenance, and conflict concerning the Guarani language in Brazil and presents how Guarani speakers try to maintain their language in Brazil. Chapter 4 dwells upon the critical concepts of heritage language socialization in the case of a Mexican family in Canada in relation to the parents' keen efforts to encourage using Spanish at home. Chapter 5 focuses on multimodal communication strategies in ELF interactions in the Philippines. Chapter 6 explores how and why German and English lingua franca speakers refer to code alternation during enrollment consultations.

The second part (Chapters 7-12, pp. 109-222) offers insight into the pedagogical perspectives about the use of multilingualism in several educational settings. Chapter 7 researches the connection between identity and second language proficiency through the guided narratives of four American students in the context of study abroad in Madrid, Spain. Chapter 8 investigates the possible effects of L3 (German) and L1 (Polish) on the pragmatic competence in English as a foreign language using a discourse completion task that analyses interference errors. Chapter 9 focuses on the language curriculum reform in Latvia. The chapter examines the students' performance in the school exit examinations in relation to the plurilingual repertoire level descriptions of the 2018 Common European Framework (CEFR). The following chapter discusses the plurilingualistic paradigm shift in the context of teaching Maltese as a foreign language. Chapter 11 highlights the need for intercultural and interlingual educational approaches in schools and offers some strategies to teachers to overcome communication conflicts in multilingual classrooms. Chapter 12 explores teachers' conceptions about the use of translanguaging to improve students' subject knowledge content and questions the English-only pedagogies to teach the range of subject areas such as math, science, computer, etc. And the book ends with a commentary chapter. What follows is the summary of the whole book chapter by chapter.

Chapter 1, ''Introduction: The Many Faces of Multilingualism,'' by one of the editors, Piotr Romanowski (pp. 1-8), presents the reader a synopsis of the individual studies mentioned in the book and offers some insight as to how multilingualism is handled in several research settings through diverse methodologies and perspectives. Romanowski discusses multilingualism as an individual versus societal construct and dwells upon some key concepts like code alteration, interlingual education, translanguaging, language contact, and multilingual identity, all highlighted in the chapters. The writer ends the chapter with a practical overview of the two parts in the book addressing individual chapters' settings, methodologies, and participants.

Chapter 2, ''The Polish Linguistic Map: An Overview of Minority Languages in the Education System'' by Piotr Romanowski (pp. 11-24), presents a detailed account of minority languages in Poland established in the 2011 National Census. The chapter puts forth how these languages are used as both a medium of instruction and a subject of study in the Polish education system based on the 2018/2019 Education Report prepared by the Polish Statistics Office. The chapter starts with the basics and presents the readers with a definition of what a minority language is and explains the legal regulations about the minority languages within the nation-states, then describes the minority languages territorially and historically in Poland. Like many other monolingual nation-states, Poland promotes the standard majority language at the expense of minority languages. Yet Romanowski acknowledges that the Polish State also recognizes the nine national (e.g., Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German), four ethnic (e.g., Karaim, Tatar), and one regional (i.e., Kashubian) minority languages within the borders of Poland. Based on the Education Report data for the 2018/2019 academic year in Poland, Romanowski appreciates the Polish State's financial support to promote bilingual education about minority groups in public schools. However, the minority groups' efforts to promote their languages remain a more definitive act to determine the future of the language within the educational system. Polish Lithuanians develop a fully bilingual school curriculum, and along with Ukrainian, they were able to keep Lithuanian as one of the minority languages offered as a language of instruction. However, the number of Belarusian minority children learning Belarusian is decreasing, and Karaims and Tatars suffer the loss of their languages.

Chapter 3, ''Language Contact, Maintenance, and Conflict: The case of the Guarani Language in Brazil'' by Edenize Ponzo Peres, Kyria Rebeca Finardi, and Polina Claudiano Calazans (pp. 25-37), adopts an explorative stance about the use of Guarani, an indigenous language spoken in the state of Espirito Santo (ES) in Brazil. The authors first provide the readers with the sociohistorical development of Guarani in several settings in South America, particularly in ES, Brazil. In the past, Brazil has taken a reductionist approach to recognize minority languages; however, in recent years, language policies in the country have developed a more inclusive attitude towards indigenous and immigrant languages. Taking their cue from the observations of the Mbya Guarani's perceptions about the maintenance or loss of their languages in relation to their history and religion, the authors analyze the sociolinguistic situation of Guarani about the Language Vitality and Endangerment document (UNESCO 2003) and with regard to the data from Calazan (2014). The authors appreciate Mbya Guarani's effort to ensure that their language survives and is not displaced by Portuguese in ES. The authors also observe that, in educational domains, only Portuguese is used as a medium of instruction at the expense of other minority languages and cultures. Thus, they conclude the chapter by suggesting more inclusive teaching materials and approaches that also meet the indigenous people's needs in Brazil.

Chapter 4, ''My Gain Would Have Been Their Loss'': Key Factors in the Heritage Language Socialization and Policies of a Middle-class Mexican Family in Canada'' by Martin Guardado (pp. 39-61), highlights the efforts of a Mexican couple to socialize their three daughters into ideologies of linguistic equality and hybrid transnational identities. The complex heritage language socialization of the family is analyzed through an ethnography and discourse analysis. The parents made a deliberate choice to focus on Spanish for their home interactions to help their children's multilingual development even though the mother had her own socialization issues in Canada, mainly due to her lack of a good command of English. However, she preferred to speak in Spanish to her daughters at home at the expense of her own loss in terms of English language proficiency. Spanish maintenance helps the family to reinforce their first culture identities as well. Guardado discusses the heritage language socialization processes of the family in different domains such as home culture visits, home interactions, and school experience of the children, all of which help the reader see the process from different angles. The author concludes that the deep investment of the parents in heritage language socialization enabled the children to be capable of using both languages effectively in the appropriate contexts, often blurring the line between the notions of mother tongue, first and second languages. Throughout the chapter, Guardado demonstrates the fluid and unstable nature of language socialization by emphasizing the perceptions and perspectives of the parents about language, locality, multilingualism, and transnationalism.

Chapter 5, ''Gesture Sequences and Turn-taking Strategies in Communication Settings in the Multilingual Philippines'' by Hiroki Hanamoto (pp. 63-83), points out a neglected research tradition in applied linguistics, i.e., multimodal analysis using conversation analysis. After providing a theoretical background and support about the functions of gestures in ELF conversations, the author meticulously presents the procedural details of the study. Hanamoto analyzes the gesture sequences and turn-taking strategies during two face-to-face ELF conversations between two Japanese students and two Filipina instructors to find out how each student-teacher pair overcomes their communicative difficulties in one-to-one language classes. He found that the participants use gestures to achieve mutual understanding in an ELF learning context. Gestures have several other functions like enhancing explicitness, building rapport, and making explicit corrections. Hanamoto concludes that the exploitation of gestures in interaction with or without speech has several benefits for interlocutors and speakers, and thus gestures should be incorporated as multimodal interactional resources for successful communications in language learning contexts. The author suggests that focusing on multimodal communication strategies offers promising research opportunities for multilingualism studies.

Chapter 6, ''The Phenomenon of Code Alternation by Multilingual Speakers'' by Anna Khalizova (pp. 84-106), acquaints the reader with the phenomenon of code alternation among multilingual and multicultural international students, exploring their interviews in German and English in an enrollment office at a German university. Khalizova first discusses the institutional discourse and interactions, which form the basis for the focal background for the ethnographic study. Then she walks the reader through the specifics of conversation analysis to code-switching, transfer, and code alternation as less frequently referred methodologies in lingua franca interactions in institutional settings. As a result of her analysis based on the conversation analysis of a corpus of video and audio interactions of students from 49 countries and their consultants, she found that several types of code-switching (i.e., participant-related and preference-related) occur in the data set. She further explains that competence-related code-switching was the most frequent strategy to ensure mutual understanding in situations in which counselors work with multiple students simultaneously. Or it is used in cases where the counselors attempt to switch between the languages but cannot adapt immediately. Chapter 6 is the last chapter of the first part of the book.

Chapter 7, ''Identity and Language Proficiency in Study Abroad: A Case Study of Four Multilingual and Multicultural Students'' by Asución Martínez-Arbelaiz and Isabel Pereira (pp. 109-125), investigates the relationship between four American undergraduate students' language proficiency in Spanish and their second language identities through case studies in which written texts produced by the students are analyzed by focusing on form and content. The authors review identity research in L2 and study abroad contexts that highlight different domains of identity such as language proficiency attainment, investment, and L2 mediated personal development. They thus form the basis of their explorative study. The content analysis of the two written tasks was conducted through the lenses of complexity, accuracy, and fluency. The results showed that two advanced students were better at investing themselves in the local culture and language. These two students were more enthusiastic about interacting with the locals and therefore validated their L2 identities thanks to their more positive attitude both toward themselves and the locals. Martínez-Arbelaiz and Pereira call for more longitudinal research about L2 identity and L2 proficiency attainment. They also recommend instructors in study abroad contexts to design language tasks that require more authentic interactions with the local community.

Chapter 8, ''The influence of the Mother Tongue and L3 on Learning Pragmatics in EFL among Poles'' by Anna Szczepaniak-Kozak (pp. 127-144), is based on a longitudinal study concerning pragmatic competence and interference errors based on a discourse completion task by Polish philology students who learned English (L2) and German (L3) as foreign languages . The author starts the chapter by highlighting the studies of pragmatic competence research centering on the interlanguage continuum of multilingual students. In her study, almost 150 students' ability to produce apologies and requests is investigated through a discourse completion task repeated over three years. The instances of transfer from the students' L1 and L3 to their L2 are explored in the qualitative data analysis. Szczepaniak-Kozak found students' Polish-L1 had more impact on their interference errors in English than did their L3-German. She calls for further research about the use of more speech acts or pragmatic features or speech events that could offer further insight into the relationship between languages in a multilingual language learning setting.

Chapter 9, ''Curriculum Reform in Latvia: A Move from Multilingual to Plurilingual Education'' by Vita Kalnbērziņa (pp. 145-161), is about how to improve high school students' performance on language achievement tests by addressing plurilingualistic descriptions in 2018 CEFR in the context of language curriculum reform in Latvia. The author first introduces the notion of plurilingualism as an individual language speaker performance and compares it to multilingualism as societal use of languages; then, she describes curricular approaches to plurilingualism in Europe and Latvia, a multilingual country where languages are taught in a compartmentalized way. The description of state curriculum reform processes about 2018 CEFR is examined in four stages in the research context of Latvia. Kalnbērziņa emphasizes the importance of context in language education in Europe. She interprets the research as showing that language curriculum reforms that integrate all the languages in society are rather challenging tasks due to both the different structural, phonological and lexical nature of the languages at play and the societal urge to compartmentalize the languages taught at schools. However, the contextual aspect of CEFR is easy to integrate into the curriculum thanks to the compatibility of multilingual policies with the Latvian education system.

Chapter 10, ''Pluralistic Approaches in Foreign Language Education: Examples of Implementation from Malta'' by Antoinette Camilleri Grima (pp. 163-186), is another chapter centering on plurilingualism. Camilleri Grima accentuates the paradigm shift in language teaching due to multiculturalism and multilingualism witnessed in educational contexts almost everywhere in the world today. She describes the specifics about the plurilingualistic paradigm shift about foreign language teaching and presents the related literature review of studies that exemplify different procedures and methodologies in relation to plurilingualistic approaches in education. The author introduces the Council of Europe's framework of reference, 'Framework of Reference for Pluralinguistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures (FREPA),' which provides practitioners with reference points to identify the competencies and intellectual resources available to plurilingual people. She also introduces four other pluralistic approaches, i.e., Intercomprehension, The Integrated Didactic Approach, Awakening to Languages, The Intercultural Approach, all of which are apparent in FREPA. Then she presents the reader with some practical implementation examples of these approaches and FREPA in teaching Maltese as a foreign language. Despite the strong evidence from the literature in support of pluralistic approaches, Camilleri Grima warns the practitioners about the challenges that they can encounter in educational settings due to several policies and curriculum requirements and points out that there is a pressing need for appropriate teaching materials based on the implementation of pluralistic approaches.

Chapter 11, ''Interlingual Education in the Classroom: An Action Guide to Overcoming Communication Conflicts'' by Natalia Barranco-Izquierdo and M. Teresa Calderón-Quindós (pp. 187-207-205), focuses on the multilingual and multicultural classrooms in the European context and offers an innovative pedagogical guideline to practitioners to develop more inclusive learning environments. The authors base their discussion about the need for the implementation of linguistically more supportive interlingual strategies on European policies aiming to improve immigrant education at primary and secondary schools in the first section of the chapter. Then they introduce the principles of ''interlingual education'' as an extension of the intercultural approach and suggest oral mediation as a remedy to overcome conflicts arising from diverse languages and cultures in a multilingual classroom. The last section of the chapter highlights the action guidelines in several steps, such as planning, execution, and evaluation for teachers about how to develop all-embracing learning environments.

Chapter 12, ''Transcending Linguistic Boundaries in Higher Education Pedagogy: The Role of Translanguaging and Lecturers'' by Vimbai Mbrimi-Hungwe (pp. 207-221), inquiries into the perceptions of science lecturers exploiting translanguaging in a higher education context in Africa through a qualitative study. Mbrimi-Hungwe overviews the multilingual South African context and criticizes colonial ideology prioritizing English as the most prestigious language. She presents a translanguaging framework to enact social justice in terms of linguistic hierarchies. Her open-ended questionnaire analysis showed that the majority of the lecturers are against the idea of using any language in their classes but English. Mbrimi-Hungwe, therefore, argues that more awareness-raising support should be provided for the faculty who teach multilingual students. This chapter ends the second part of the book.

Chapter 13, ''Bringing it all Together: Multilingualism in Family, Society, and Education'' by Martin Guardado, the other editor of the book (pp. 223-231), is a commentary that synthesizes the 11 chapters (2-12) in both parts of the book and presents how they weave together and contribute to the understanding of multilingualism on both pedagogical and societal levels. Guardado revisits and summarizes the key terms mentioned in the studies throughout the book.


This book is a fine collection of cutting-edge research articles centering on multilingualism and changing trends in this field. The articles deal with multilingualism as an omnipresent worldwide construct at several interactions from individual to social and institutional environments. The book foregrounds currently relevant topics in relation to multilingualism like plurilingualism, translanguaging, interlingualism, and intercomprehension. The role of English in connection with multilingualism is also investigated. The studies in the book think over the role of education, particularly higher education, to develop multilingual programs to facilitate and enhance different aspects of individual, domestic, societal, and institutional interactions in diverse, multilingual contexts from twelve countries. The intriguing research topics concerning various aspects of multilingualism explore the role of study abroad programs, identity construction in other languages, international student internship, heritage language in the family, indigenous languages, multimodalities in ELF classroom interactions, language policy, language contact, and language planning.

Camilleri Grima (Chapter 10) argues that a paradigm shift in applied linguistics is occurring now due to global mobility. Guardado (Chapter 13) also supports the idea that monolingual English-only pedagogies are no longer responding to the needs of today's language learning environments when considering the plurilingual individuals and multilingual communities in these settings. The rest of the book is a reflection of this perspective; particularly, Chapters 7, 11, and 12, in this sense, present broadened research settings with diverse research variables, which solidifies this paradigm shift. The other agenda of the book in relation to this paradigm shift is social justice provided through language teaching. The exploration of social justice centers on individual language speakers as they are the micro representations of the community where they live. In that regard, Chapter 3 puts forth the struggles of indigenous people to maintain their languages and have a fair share in the macro society. Chapter 6 presents how the outcome of language use, i.e., code- alternation, can be an individual means to empower a language learner in a lingua franca interaction. And Chapter 12 shows how translanguaging can serve the purpose of challenging the ideological stances that stem from colonialism in South Africa at a discourse community in the broader society. The rest of the chapters in the book fit well into this social justice paradigm shift in applied linguistics as well.

A variety of qualitative research methodologies are presented in the book: linguistic landscaping (Chapter 2, 3, 9), interviews (Chapter 2, 4, 7, 12), ethnography (Chapter 4), discourse analysis (Chapter 4), conversation analysis (Chapter 6, 5), multimodal analysis (Chapter 5), document analysis (Chapter 3, 9, 10), longitudinal discourse completion task (Chapter 9) and guided narratives (Chapter 7). The use of such multifaceted methodologies is also another strength of the book. The reader would welcome the change in research perspectives and appreciate their innovativeness and accessibility when applied within their research areas. The only chapters that made me ask for more details are Chapters 5, 6 and 7. Chapter 5 could have elaborated more on the classification of multimodalities and their functions; Chapter 6 could have provided the reader with more concrete examples of language alternation; Chapter 7 could make the reader question how the authors captured the identity changes through simple narratives in such a short period. Or again, in Chapter 4, the impact of class on the heritage language is not clear enough. Greater detail in these chapters could broaden the understanding of the presented methodologies and the related results.

The book focuses on the global South as a multilingual and multicultural research context with its multilingual researchers. I agree with Guardado in his comment that these attributes make this volume a substantial resource book for studying multilingualism and its repercussions in the field. The wide range of topics, speaker groups, situations, and languages examined in this collection demonstrate the significance and omnipresence of multilingualism. Thus, it is apprehensible why the editors picked research from the global South as it is the context where multilingualism is more visible in social arenas, and its effects on the individuals are more tangible. However, today there is almost no place where multilingualism is not observed. For the sake of diversity, some expanding circle contexts such as Russia, Japan, or Turkey could have been included in the selection. These countries are considered monolingual but today experience multilingualism due to migration, accelerating refugee populations, or an increasing number of international students. Therefore, research studies from these contexts could have also contributed to the exploration of “the many faces of multilingualism'' and the tensions it has created in these communities in terms of language planning or identity politics. Throughout, all the chapters show the need for more scholarly research in the vast area of multilingualism in diverse contexts in the world. The book is a worthwhile read and an invaluable resource for all who are interested in multilingualism.
HATICE ALTUN, PhD, is an instructor in the School of Foreign Languages, Pamukkale University, Turkey. Her major research interests lie in areas of bi/multilingualism, discourse analysis, study-abroad and higher education research. Email: [email protected]

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