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Multilingual Norms

Edited By Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

Multilinguals are not multiple monolinguals. Yet multilingual assessment proceeds through monolingual norms, as if fair conclusions were possible in the absence of fair comparison. In addition, multilingualism concerns what people do with language, not what languages do to people. Yet research focus remains on multilinguals’ languages, as if languages existed despite their users. This book redresses these paradoxes. Multilingual scholars, teachers and speech-language clinicians from Europe, Asia, Australia and the US contribute the first studies dedicated to multilingual norms, those found in real-life multilingual development, assessment and use. Readership includes educators, clinicians, decision-makers and researchers interested in multilingualism.


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Part 1. Multilingualism and Language Norming


19 = Part 1 = Multilingualism and Language Norming _____________________________________________ Chapter 1 The bilingual as a competent but specific speaker-hearer1 François Grosjean Abstract A particular view of bilingualism – the monolingual (or fractional) view – has been given far too much importance in the study of bilinguals. According to it, the bilingual is (or should be) two monolinguals in one person. In this paper, the monolingual view is spelled out, and the negative consequences it has had on various areas of bilingual research are discussed. A bilingual (or wholistic) view is then proposed. According to it, the bilingual is not the sum of two complete or incomplete monolinguals; rather, he or she has a unique and specific linguistic configuration. This view is described and four areas of research are discussed in its light: comparing monolinguals and bilinguals, language learning and lan- guage forgetting, the bilingual’s speech modes, and the bilingual child and “semilingualism”. 1 This chapter first appeared in 1985 as an article, with the same title, in the Journal of Mul- tilingual and Multicultural Development 6, 467–477 (reprinted by permission of the pub- lisher, Taylor & Francis Ltd, A note in the original article stated the following: “Readers may be surprised that there are no references in the text. This comes from the fact that this position paper is in many ways a belated epilogue to my book Life with Two Languages. An Introduction to Bilingualism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982). It is in this latter work that I acknowledge...

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