Bilingual: Life and Reality

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Harvard University Press, Apr 15, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 276 pages
Whether in family life, social interactions, or business negotiations, half the people in the world speak more than one language every day. Yet many myths persist about bilingualism and bilinguals. Does being bilingual mean you are equally fluent in two languages, or that you belong to two cultures, or even that you have multiple personalities? Can you become bilingual only as a child? Why do bilinguals switch from one language to another in mid-sentence? Will raising bilingual children confuse and delay their learning of any language? In a lively and often entertaining book, an international authority on bilingualism, son of an English mother and a French father, explores the many facets of bilingualism. In this book, François Grosjean draws on research, interviews, autobiographies, and the engaging examples of bilingual authors. He describes the various strategies—some useful, some not—used by parents raising bilingual children, explains how children easily pick up and forget languages, and considers how bilingualism affects the experience and expression of emotions, thoughts, and dreams. This book shows that speaking two or more languages is not a sign of intelligence, evasiveness, cultural alienation, or political disloyalty. For millions of people, it’s simply a way of navigating the complexities of life.

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User Review  - Cecilturtle - LibraryThing

I very much enjoyed this book about bi- and multilingualism. Grosjean seeks to debunk common myths such as bilinguals must know their languages perfectly, bilinguals are at a learning disadvantage and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EmreSevinc - LibraryThing

When a retired bilingual professor who knows his field very well takes the reader on a short and friendly tour, the result is a pleasure in many aspects. For me, two major aspects of the book were its ... Read full review


Why Are People Bilingual?
Describing Bilinguals
The Functions of Languages
Language Mode and Language Choice
CodeSwitching and Borrowing
Speaking and Writing Monolingually
Having an Accent in a Language
Languages across the Lifespan
Bilinguals Who Are Also Bicultural
Personality Thinking and Dreaming and Emotions in Bilinguals
Bilingual Writers
Special Bilinguals
In and Out of Bilingualism

Attitudes and Feelings about Bilingualism

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About the author (2010)

François Grosjean is Professor Emeritus at Neuchâtel University, and author of Life with Two Languages: An Introduction to Bilingualism.

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