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Becoming Multilingual

Language Learning and Language Policy between Attitudes and Identities

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Edited By Konrad Bergmeister and Cecilia Varcasia

Research into the complex phenomenon of multilingualism is rapidly increasing. This book looks at multilingualism through its interfaces with language policies, language attitudes and issues of language awareness and identity. The aim is to examine the dynamic processes that lead or hinder the development of such phenomena. One of the scopes of the volume is to represent the complexity of the multilingual speaker by shedding light on different multilingual settings in the world. The chapters of this volume tackle the topic from a sociolinguistic perspective by showing how multilingualism is dynamically constructed. They provide empirical research on language learning in different multilingual environments in the world as well as practical suggestions for the investigation of multilingualism and the improvement of its education.

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SANDRO CARUANA / DAVID LASAGABASTER - Using a Holistic Approach to Explore Language Attitudes in Two Multilingual Contexts: the Basque Country and Malta - 39

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SANDRO CARUANA / DAVID LASAGABASTER Using a Holistic Approach to Explore Language Attitudes in Two Multilingual Contexts: the Basque Country and Malta 1. Introduction The study of language attitudes in multilingual contexts is a rather new field of research. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of investi- gations have focused on minority and/or on majority languages, but very few have also analysed the role of an international language, or of any other additional language(s), within specific contexts (Lasa- gabaster/Huguet 2007). Moreover, previous studies have been based on an approach in which each of the languages is examined as an iso- lated unit; in other words, in these studies the participants are asked about their attitudes towards each of the languages in contact inde- pendently, by using what we will label in this chapter as monolingual- biased questionnaires (Lasagabaster 2005a). As Baker points out (2008), the analysis of attitudes towards trilingualism and multilin- gualism is a very recent trend and there are currently very few studies focused on this field of research. Since multilingualism is becoming the norm rather than the exception in many European education con- texts (De Angelis 2007; Dewaele 2005; Jessner 2006) and the world over (Clyne 2005), this is an area of study which definitively deserves further attention. In fact, this study is an attempt to help to fill this gap. Since the objective of this chapter revolves around the analysis of language attitudes towards trilingualism by means of a holistic ques- tionnaire in...

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