Bilingual Landscape of the Contemporary World

by Sambor Grucza (Volume editor) Magdalena Olpińska-Szkielko (Volume editor) Piotr Romanowski (Volume editor)
©2016 Edited Collection 227 Pages


The concept of bilingualism has been analyzed for a very long time. Its definitions range from native-like competence in two languages to a minimal proficiency in a second language. Hence one might question why no consensus has been reached in this matter. The authors of this volume imply that there exists a number of theoretical and methodological difficulties raised by older definitions. The notion of bilingualism has to be investigated from different perspectives reflected by the dimensions each individual intends to diagnose. The aim of the book is to review critically the state of the art in the field of bilingualism. The volume reveals the details of empirical studies conducted by scholars from Europe, America and Australia. It depicts a truly interesting spectrum of research topics starting with the educational aspects of bilingualism, such as: bilingual acquisition, bilingual parenting methods and bilingual kindergartens, to reveal various issues of sociolinguistics and even bilingual literature.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Editorial Note
  • The Italophone Reefs in the Croatophone Sea
  • Object Relatives in Bilingual Acquisition: L1/Russian, L2/Hebrew
  • Bilingual Education: from Implementation to Program Evaluation. A Case Study from an Italian-Turkish Kindergarten
  • A Closer Look at Cross-Linguistic Influence in the Acquisition of Portuguese as a Heritage Language
  • Lexical Richness in the Spontaneous Speech of Adult-Onset Bilinguals
  • The Effects of Bilingual Exposure for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Current Knowledge and Future Directions
  • Bilinguals from Mixed Families. The Interrelation between Bilingual Parenting Methods and Factors of Language Acquisition on the Example of German-Polish Children
  • ‘Between the Two Worlds’. A Language Socialization Perspective on Identity Negotiation among Polish Adolescents in Ireland
  • Individuality vs. Regularity of Bilingualism – Conclusions from a Case Study Analysis
  • Some Reflections on the Idiosyncrasy of Bilingual Education in Secondary Schools in Poland
  • Do Bilinguals Inhibit One Language to Speak Another?
  • Bilingualism and Translation: Code-Switching in Bilingual Fiction and the Translator’s Dilemma
  • Authors

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Editorial Note

In the contemporary world, we become members of multiple linguistic and sociocultural networks. Consequently, we can observe a variety of new and complex interactions within the language and culture. The aim of the present volume is to review the current state of the art in the field of bilingualism. The notion of bilingualism refers to the state of a linguistic community in which two languages are in contact, with the result that two codes can be used in the same interaction. With the included chapters we intend to be thought-provoking and we hope to address some cutting-edge practices, pedagogies and on-going projects in the area, as bilingual education has been widely advocated nowadays. The concept of bilingualism is addressed here not only as an individual, but also as a social phenomenon and, as claimed by various specialists in the field, bilingual orientation is the one and only way to educate societies in the next millennium. Hence, it is our intention, as editors, to offer the reader in-depth information, factual knowledge and insights into this most complex and controversial area of linguistics.

The volume opens with a chapter by Robert Blagoni, Nada Poropat Jeletic and Kristina Blecich, who present the linguistic mosaic of the present-day Istrian Peninsula. The authors concentrate on the description of the sociolinguistic specificities of the unique multilingual Istrian macrosystem, with special reference to the Italophone repertoire characterized by functional bilingualism. They state that the social interactions are shaped by double diglossic or imperfectly polyglossic relationships implying a complementary sociolinguistic distribution and hierarchic distinction between Croatian (the first official tongue), Italian (the second official tongue) and Istrovenetian (the unofficial low variety).

The chapter that follows, by Irena Botwinik, Efrat Halel and Sharon Armon-Lotem, is dedicated to the production process of object relatives in the bilingual acquisition among Russian-Hebrew children. The relevance of Universal Grammar to L2 acquisition, the role of cross-linguistic influence as a function of age of L2 onset and the length of L2 exposure in their tested acquirers have been thoroughly analyzed. The authors also emphasize the importance of differentiating speakers’ errors and reflect on the question whether bilingualism may delay grammatical development.

A micro-planning policy case study, involving both qualitative and quantitative design, related to the implementation of a bilingual Italian-Turkish programme in an Istanbul kindergarten is the main theme of Victoria Carbonara’s chapter. The author emphasizes the fact that Turkey has a long tradition of bilingual and ← 7 | 8 → immersion education, in particular due to the existence of its minorities. She discusses the stages of policy implementation, collecting data by means of surveys distributed to school managers and parents, interviews with children and teachers, classroom observations, recordings of teachers’ daily activities and diaries. In order to complement the entire project, the author also offers an insight into a test designed to measure the programme’s impact.

The study presented in the next chapter by Cristina Flores, Pilar Barbosa and Manuela Casa Nova focuses on the development of Portuguese as a heritage language, i.e. a minority language acquired by children with migration background. It aims at the investigation of the role of cross-linguistic influence from the majority language in the acquisition of the heritage language’s syntax. The authors test three groups of children in the use of clitic placement in Portuguese. They examine language systems in bilinguals and ponder on to what extent these are immune to cross-linguistic influence, particularly in the case of analogous structures.

The eventual attainment in bilinguals’ later learnt languages in the area of lexicon is investigated by Andrea B. Hellman in the chapter which follows. The author carefully compares extensive speech samples collected from a group of bilinguals who learned English during adulthood and a group of comparably educated native speakers of English. All participants were immersed in English for over two decades. The author contemplates whether the level of fluency attained by adult-onset bilinguals can be comparable to the competence exemplified by native speakers and if the length of immersion should be regarded as a substantial variable.

Kristelle Hudry, Mirko Uljarević, Lisa Rumney, Nicolle Pitt and Rebecca Kam review the results from recently-emerging studies regarding the effect of bilingualism on language development for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They propose avenues for future research on this topic and highlight what might be gained from a detailed investigation of bilingualism and ASD. The authors unanimously suggest that important contributions be made by adopting a neuro-cognitive developmental approach to the issue of bilingualism and ASDs, considering brain-environment interactions over the course of developmental time.

In her contribution, Barbara Jańczak advocates bilingual upbringing. According to her research on language use and family cultures in German-Polish families the subject of raising bilingual children in a balanced way is much more complex. She demonstrates the interdependence between several language acquisition factors (such as access, motivation, language attitudes, etc.) and the choice of an adequate method of bilingual parenting targeting balanced bilingualism of the child. She speculates on the selection of proper methods that would guarantee ← 8 | 9 → balanced active bilingualism in children. The author notices that one of the roles to be fulfilled by bilingual parents is to achieve a stability in the access to and support of both languages.

In the next chapter, Małgorzata Machowska-Kościak reveals the details of her research related to first and second language development/socialization of four adolescent Polish immigrant children attending different post-primary schools in Ireland. She accentuates the competition between language learning (English) and language maintenance (Polish) goals as well as how these affect the children’s identity negation as they grow up in a multilingual environment and try to find their place in a new country and society. The results of the study are analyzed in terms of heritage language maintenance, describing how different educational contexts influence construction of new identities and help to integrate the home language and culture with the host culture’s language and values.

The analysis of several case studies of bilingual speakers is provided in the following chapter authored by Magdalena Olpińska-Szkiełko. The aim of the chapter, as stated by the author, was to present bilingualism as a phenomenon fully individual and closely related to the unique experience of a bilingual speaker and, at the same time, as an aspect within which one can distinguish certain regularities and dependencies. In the descriptions of cases particular attention was paid to the influence of social and psychological factors on the development of bilingual competence, thanks to which some interesting findings were collected.

Piotr Romanowski, in the subsequent chapter, shares his reflections on the idiosyncrasy of bilingual education in Polish secondary schools. He emphasizes the role of CLIL provision as the main methodology efficiently applied in Poland. As indicated by the author, it is one of the main factors enhancing multilingualism and providing opportunities for strengthening learners’ knowledge and skills. The range and popularity of bilingual programmes in secondary schools is also presented in numbers, with a clear domination of English as the most desirable foreign language of instruction. It is deduced by the author that a further development of plurilingual competence, as envisaged by the Council of Europe, needs to be pursued at all levels of education.

The question addressed by Steven Samuel, the author of the next chapter, seeks an answer to the problem whether bilinguals inhibit one language to speak another code. In order to provide a reasonable explanation, the author attempts to review the Inhibitory Control model and its recent refinements in light of psychological and linguistic implications regarding the management of two languages in a bilingual orientation. He argues that inhibition is unlikely to be the sole mechanism for bilingual language control, but that recent refinements of the ← 9 | 10 → original hypothesis might yet provide a more stable platform from which to make future predictions about its possible role.

The volume ends with Clare E. Vassallo’s debate on the challenges posed by code-switching in literature and on how the work of a literary translator might be affected. She notices that a competent translator works within a context that is not simply dependent on bilingual fluency. The translator, or mediator, draws upon an in-depth bi-cultural awareness that reflects the pragmatic use of code-switching in both the source and the target cultures. Throughout the chapter the author provides examples of bilingual use of the language in the novel, some comparative instances of translated passages as well as texts written in English with a scattering of words and phrases in other languages leaving the reader with an authentic feel of multilingual and multicultural norms.

With this volume the editors aspire to provide an interesting and diverse agenda for future investigation, because although an attempt was made to discuss the topic at length, there seems to be still much undiscovered within the field of bilingualism. Hopefully, the book will be the source of inspiration not only to researchers, but also to students wishing to investigate the issues remaining within their scholarly interest. The approach developed here has clear theoretical groundings and is supported by detailed examination of the evidence. All the chapters collectively are meant to broaden our understanding of the unique characteristics of bilingualism. Hence, it is our sincere hope that all the works will provide theoretical and empirical insights that can guide the implementation of new projects and undertakings.

Warsaw, April 2016

Sambor Grucza

Magdalena Olpińska-Szkiełko

Piotr Romanowski

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Robert Blagoni, Nada Poropat Jeletic & Kristina Blecich


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (August)
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2016. 227 S., 4 s/w Abb., 26 Tab.

Biographical notes

Sambor Grucza (Volume editor) Magdalena Olpińska-Szkielko (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: Bilingual Landscape of the Contemporary World
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230 pages