Bilingual: Life and Reality

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Montreal Gazette
Grosjean shows that we still need to fight against the monolingual mindset that has long tended to categorize bilingual speakers as somehow "different" or unusual. Bilingual: Life and Reality is a useful and very readable contribution to that ongoing struggle...It is worth having at one's fingertips the unpretentiously presented, solidly researched facts and figures in this gentle, humorous, civilized book.
— Mela Sarkar
Montreal Gazette

What may not be apparent to the non-specialist is the extent to which Grosjean masters the entire body of scholarly literature on bilingualism produced during the past 100 years… It is worth having at one's fingertips the unpretentiously presented, solidly researched facts and figures in this gentle, humorous, civilized book.
— Mela Sarkar

Times Literary Supplement

The personal dimension of the book contributes to its readability and vitality. Grosjean succeeds in impressing on his readers the need to demystify bilingualism and seek ways in which to encourage linguistic diversity.
— Kerstin Hoge

Language

Bilingual: Life and Reality…is a readable, informative, and emotionally satisfying work… The book is a gift.
— Barbara Zurer Pearson

Montreal Gazette - Mela Sarkar
What may not be apparent to the non-specialist is the extent to which Grosjean masters the entire body of scholarly literature on bilingualism produced during the past 100 years… It is worth having at one's fingertips the unpretentiously presented, solidly researched facts and figures in this gentle, humorous, civilized book.
Times Literary Supplement - Kerstin Hoge
The personal dimension of the book contributes to its readability and vitality. Grosjean succeeds in impressing on his readers the need to demystify bilingualism and seek ways in which to encourage linguistic diversity.
Language - Barbara Zurer Pearson
Bilingual: Life and Reality…is a readable, informative, and emotionally satisfying work… The book is a gift.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674048874
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2010
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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