Life With Two Languages / Edition 1

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Many people consider bilinguals to be exceptional, yet almost half the world's population speaks more than one language. Bilingualism is found in every country of the world, in every class of society, in all age groups. Life with Two Languages is the first book to provide a complete and authoritative look at the nature of the bilingual experience. François Grosjean, himself a bilingual, covers the topic from each of its many angles in order to provide a balanced introduction to this fascinating phenomenon.

Grosjean discusses the political and social situations that arise when languages come into contact and the policies nations have established toward their linguistic minorities in the domains of education and governance. Of particular interest is his detailed account of the psychological and social factors that lead a bilingual to choose one of her languages when speaking to another bilingual or to use both languages in the fascinating phenomenon of code-switching. The author explains how children become bilingual as quickly as they become monolingual, describes the organization of languages in the bilingual brain, and examines the legacy of bilingualism on language, as exemplified in word borrowings.

Above all, Life with Two Languages puts the emphasis on the bilingual person. In a series of first-hand reports scattered throughout the book, bilinguals tell what it is like to live with two languages and describe the educational and social experiences they have undergone.

Written in a clear and informative style, Life with Two Languages will appeal to professionals and students in linguistics, education, sociology, and psychology, as well as to the more casually curious.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - W. Haas
Anyone interested in the distinctly personal aspects of bilingualism will find it rewarding to dip into this survey; he is bound to discover a good deal that has escaped his own attempts.
Contemporary Psychology - Loraine K. Obler
What this book conveys is the incredible variety of ways in which an individual or a nation can be bilingual...Grosjean's book treats the multiple facets of bilingual experience in thought-provoking, wonderful, and lucid prose. Students and general readers, monolingual and bilingual alike, stand to gain new perspectives from reading this excellent comprehensive introduction.
Chicago Reader
[This book] is virtually indispensable to anyone already interested in language politics...[Grosjean] has assembled a great deal of valuable and often intriguing data and organized it clearly.
Bilingual Review - Ellen Bouchard Ryan
The volume is written in a highly readable, enjoyable style. The coverage is broad and quite comprehensive, with a wide range of examples from different countries and cultures...The message concerning what natural bilingual behavior is like for most bilinguals comes through strongly and impressively. It is this them which holds the book together and which makes it a unique contribution among writings on bilingualism.
Einar Haugen
François Grosjean has undertaken a truly formidable task--to give the serious student and the earnest layman some insight into what a generation of intense research has taught us about bilinguals and bilingualism. The book manages to combine a very personal touch, which one feels everywhere as growing out of the author's own experience as a bilingual, with wide reading in the many fields of research that bear on the problems of bilingualism.
C. Richard Tucker
[Life with Two Languages] contains a wealth of interesting information which, to my knowledge, has not been put together in one source before--particularly in such a cogent and succinct manner...a thoroughly enjoyable treatment of the phenomenon of bilingualism.
Fred Genesee
Grosjean has written a very comprehensive review of the field that is both conceptually sound and entertaining. The book will undoubtedly inform, perhaps provoke and...entertain its readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674530928
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 12/12/1982
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 386
  • Product dimensions: 0.80 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (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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Table of Contents

1. Bilingualism in the World

The Extent of Bilingualism

National Patterns of Bilingualism

Language Policy and Linguistic Minorities

The Origins of Bilingualism

The Outcome of Bilingualism

2. Bilingualism in the United States

Language Diversity and Bilingualism

Aspects of the Life of Linguistic Minorities

Bilingual Education

Some Linguistic Minorities

Language Maintenance and Language Shift

3. Bilingualism in Society

Attitudes toward Language Groups and Languages

Language Choice


Bilingualism and Biculturalism

4. The Bilingual Child

Becoming Bilingual

The Acquisition of Two Languages

Aspects of Bilingualism in the Child

Education and the Bilingual Child

The Effects of Bilingualism on the Child

5. The Bilingual Person

Describing a Person's Bilingualism

The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism

The Bilingual Brain

The Bilingual as a Person

6. Bilingual Speech and Language

Speaking to a Monolingual

Speaking to a Bilingual

The Legacy of Bilingualism




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