Advances in Understanding Multilingualism: A Global Perspective

by Sambor Grucza (Volume editor) Magdalena Olpińska-Szkiełko (Volume editor) Piotr Romanowski (Volume editor)
©2016 Edited Collection 201 Pages


Multilingualism is broadly understood as the knowledge and use of two or more languages by individuals in their everyday lives, both private and professional. It is increasingly acknowledged as an important issue of the contemporary world and the interest in the matter of multilingualism is growing rapidly in many areas, such as research, politics, or education. The authors of this book combine some of the questions in a truly interdisciplinary perspective in order to provide an insight into the variety and diversity of research problems of multilingualism. This collection is divided into ten chapters considering the selected matters from different points of view, gathering together empirical research from various fields.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Editorial Note
  • Katja Andersen - Multilingualism and Multimodality in Luxembourgish Early Childhood Education
  • Wai Meng Chan - From Multilingualism to Bilingualism – and Back? Charting the Impact of Language Planning in Singapore
  • Lidija Cvikić, Jasna Novak Milić, Katarina Aladrović Slovaček - The Role of Formal Language Instruction in the Maintenance of Heritage Language: The Case of Croatian Language
  • Kyria Finardi, Virag Csillagh - Globalization and Linguistic Diversity in Switzerland: Insights from the Roles of National Languages and English as a Foreign Language
  • Jeanette King, Una Cunningham - Intergenerational Transmission of Minority Languages in New Zealand: Methodological Issues
  • Ana Cristina Neves - (Re)Reading Otherness: Translanguaging Processes in the Linguistic Landscape of Macau
  • Michał B. Paradowski, Aleksandra Bator, Monika Michałowska - Multilingual Upbringing by Parents of Different Nationalities: Which Strategies Work Best?
  • Stefania Scaglione, Sandro Caruana - Bridging the Gap between Policies and Practices Related to Multilingualism in Schools in Southern European States
  • Kutlay Yagmur - Policies of Multilingualism in the European Union: How Compatible is the Policy with Actual Practice?
  • Eugen Zaretsky, Benjamin P. Lange - The Geography of Language Skills and Language(-Related) Disorders: A Case of Frankfurt/Main
  • Authors

| 7 →

Editorial Note

Multilingualism, broadly understood as the knowledge and use of two or more languages by individuals or groups of individuals in their everyday lives, both private and professional, is increasingly acknowledged as an important issue of the contemporary world. Interest in the matters of multilingualism is growing rapidly in many areas such as research, politics, or education.

Typical questions asked in these areas include:

the role of English and other (national) languages in the globalized context;

the impact of bi- and multilingualism on the educational and social success of concerned individuals, especially immigrants;

the increasing value of the “linguistic capital”;

the “destiny” of minority and heritage languages in the context of increasing mobility of the population and massive emigration;

the best strategies of raising children in multilingual families and environments;

the different ways people deal with language diversity in their environments;

the best policies for promoting language diversity and lifelong (language) learning around the world.

In this book we combine some of the questions in a truly interdisciplinary perspective in order to try to provide an insight into the variety and diversity of research problems of multilingualism. This collection is divided into 10 chapters considering the selected matters from different points of view and gathering together empirical research from various fields. The authors of this volume represent universities and research centres from all over the world. Their scientific interests and experience, as well as their position in the scientific community, guarantee a highly informative and satisfying lecture.

In Chapter 1, Katja Andersen concentrates on multilingual practices in both formal and non-formal sectors of Luxembourgish early childhood education (i.e. up to 6 years of age). The author ascertains that there is no focus on multilingualism in the early childhood education in Luxembourg, which is rather surprising in a country with three official languages and where almost every second inhabitant has a nationality other than Luxembourgish. She also states that in a multilingual environment children do not automatically develop multilingualism and reflects what could be done to implement multilingual pedagogies in the daily practices of early childhood education. ← 7 | 8 →

Chapter 2, by Wai Meng Chan, focuses on the dynamic changes of the linguistic situation in Singapore that have taken place in the last 50 years (since the gaining of independence in 1965) as the results of the consequent and long-sighted language policy of the Singaporean government. The author proposes that Singapore’s economic and social success can be attributed, at least in part, to the adoption of English “as the cornerstone of its national language planning”. What consequences the English-knowing-bilingual educational policy has had for the other native languages of Singapore’s inhabitants is one of the most interesting issues presented in this chapter.

The role of formal language instruction and education in language learning and its maintenance among its heritage speakers is the main issue of Lidija Cvikić, Jasna Novak Milić and Katarina Aladrović Slovaček’s chapter, Chapter 3. In order to answer this question the authors examine the general language proficiency, attitudes towards language and culture and usage of language skills in daily life (e.g. listening to Croatian radio or music, reading on the Internet etc.) of Croatian emigrants and their descendants in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generation around the word.

Kyria Finardi and Virag Csillagh in Chapter 4 analyze, referring to the theoretical framework of language economics – a relatively new branch of economics that examines the interrelationship between economic and linguistic phenomena – the linguistic diversity and changes of the national linguistic and cultural landscape in Switzerland under the influence of English as a lingua franca of the modern world. By focusing on the linguistic practices of the second largest Swiss University of Geneva and language skills among students at its four selected faculties the authors show that there are some significant and surprising developments in student’s attitudes toward English in comparison with the official/national languages of Switzerland.

To what extent speakers of minority languages in New Zealand are passing their language on to their children is the main theme of Jeanette King and Una Cunningham’s chapter, Chapter 5. The authors address the question of the circumstances under which intergenerational transmission of languages other than the three official languages in New Zealand might be successful with the aim of ascertaining how families who are raising or intend to raise the children as speakers of their heritage language can be supported.

Ana Cristina Neves’s study, Chapter 6, investigates the linguistic landscape of Macau as a community that is not only multilingual but is also employing more than one writing system. In order to demonstrate the kinds of coexistence of different languages, especially the three main languages in Macau, i.e. Cantonese, English and Portuguese, and different writing systems (e.g. the Arabic and Chinese numbers, the romanized Cantonese etc.) she analyses a considerable number of ← 8 | 9 → signs displayed in shopping areas in Macau, such as advertising slogans, shop sign-boards or announcements. The main subjects of the analysis are the contents of the messages and their communication functions and the processes of translanguaging, such as transliteration and translation.

The contribution of Michał B. Paradowski, Aleksandra Bator and Monika Michałowska, Chapter 7, centres on strategies applied by multilingual families in the process of raising the children. The authors introduce the theoretical background and state of affairs in the field of bi- and multilingualism’s research before proceeding with the presentation and discussion of the main results of their study into the effectiveness of selected methods parents of different nationalities employ if they wish to raise their children multilingually.

Stefania Scaglione and Sandro Caruana in Chapter 8 demonstrate a thorough review of data gathered through the MERIDIUM Project, an EU-founded Life Long Learning project, conducted from 2009 to 2011. In the focus of the investigation stood five Southern European countries, i.e. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovenia and Malta, which have recently become popular immigration destination, and thus have experienced a significant and sudden increase of linguistic diversity. The authors discuss whether both educational policies and practices in these countries promote multilingualism (plurilingualism) and linguistic diversity efficiently. The study takes into account traditional minority languages spoken on their territory as well as foreign languages taught as compulsory subjects in general education and “new” minority languages of migrant groups and families.

Kutlay Yagmur in Chapter 9 examines how compatible are the language policies of the European Union with actual institutional and educational practices in the EU member States. On the basis of the data collected through Language Rich Europe Project (2012) the author tries to establish whether the European policy to maintain and enhance linguistic diversity and multilingualism in Europe has been successfully implemented in the EU countries and regions. The outcomes of the LRE Project reviewed in this chapter excellently complement the findings discussed in Chapter 8.

The study presented in the final Chapter 10 by Eugen Zaretsky and Benjamin P. Lange aim at an identification of the geographical distribution of verbal skills of German preschoolers in Frankfurt/Main, as well as their error patterns and their language(-related) disorders and impairments. Statistical analyses of the collected data allowed the authors to identify the linguistically weakest and strongest districts of the city. The authors propose that there are statistically significant associations between the scores of the language tests by children and variables that indicate lower or higher income of their families (e.g. size of the flats, number of family members, percentage of unemployed people and lone parents etc.). ← 9 | 10 → Although some of the results can be accurately anticipated by the readers, there will be also same baffling conclusions of the study.

This cross-disciplinary volume will appeal to researchers, students and professionals engaged in the developing and shaping of language policies as well as educational policies on the local or even international level (EU). The editors sincerely hope that the findings of research presented in this collection might contribute to the better understanding of “multilingual matters” occurring in our contemporary, globalized, yet still very differentiated and diverse world.

Warsaw, January 2016


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (March)
national and heritage languages language policy linguistic globalization language diversity
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2016. 201 pp., 23 b/w fig., 22 tables

Biographical notes

Sambor Grucza (Volume editor) Magdalena Olpińska-Szkiełko (Volume editor) Piotr Romanowski (Volume editor)

Sambor Grucza is Professor at the University of Warsaw. His research interests are applied linguistics as well as linguistics of languages for specific purposes. Magdalena Olpińska-Szkiełko is Professor at the University of Warsaw. Her research interests include language acquisition, early bilingualism, and specialist languages. Piotr Romanowski is Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw. His research interests are bi- and multilingualism and the methodology of language teaching.


Title: Advances in Understanding Multilingualism: A Global Perspective
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204 pages