Thinking and Speaking in Two Languages Edited by: Aneta Pavlenko

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19 Jan 2011
Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


Until recently, the history of debates about language and thought has been a history of thinking of language in the singular. The purpose of this volume is to reverse this trend and to begin unlocking the mysteries surrounding thinking and speaking in bi- and multilingual speakers. If languages influence the way we think, what happens to those who speak more than one language? And if they do not, how can we explain the difficulties second language learners experience in mapping new words and structures onto real-world referents? The contributors to this volume put forth a novel approach to second language learning, presenting it as a process that involves conceptual development and restructuring, and not simply the mapping of new forms onto pre-existing meanings.


Whenever I lecture about 'thinking for speaking' someone in the audience will ask about language and thought in the bilingual mind. Aneta Pavlenko’s masterful volume provides the fullest set of answers I know of to that important question. The expert chapters provide a voyage of discovery through bilingual minds as encountered in lab experiments and personal experience - in words and gestures and eye movements and memories. The authors skillfully summarize their own research and theorizing, returning to common themes. The editor beautifully presents those themes in opening and closing chapters. The answer to the bilingual question is not simple, and it is still a work in progress. L1 linguistic conceptualizations can be detected in early L2. As learning goes on, L1 and L2 conceptualizations can coexist in one mind, thought not quite matching two independent monolingual systems. And eventually L2 construals can even reshape L1. Anyone who has pondered the big questions of language and cognition cannot help but be fascinated by this ongoing voyage of discovery.

- Dan I. Slobin, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

Despite growing evidence that different languages influence thought, only a few pioneering researchers have begun to grapple systematically with the conceptual implications of speaking two or more languages. This collection brings together leading researchers in this exciting new area to take stock of what has been discovered thus far and the research challenges that lie ahead. The volume thus represents a landmark in the study of the nature of the multilingual mind.

- John A. Lucy, University of Chicago, USA

This book makes an important contribution to the exploding field of Bilingual Cognition Research, showing a rich range of research from autobiography to laboratory experiments, focussing particularly on ‘thinking for speaking’ and on nominal and verbal semantics. It comes from a new generation of researchers uninhibited by recent prejudices against the very concept of linguistic relativity.

- Prof Viv. Cook, University of Newcastle

Author Biography:

Dr. Aneta Pavlenko is an Associate Professor at the College of Education, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA. She has lectured widely in Europe, North America, and Japan, and published numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics of bilingualism and second language acquisition. She is an author of Emotions and Multilingualism (Cambridge University Press, 2005), co-author of Crosslinguistic Influence in Language and Cognition (with Scott Jarvis; Routledge, 2008), editor of Bilingual Minds (Multilingual Matters, 2006) and co-editor of Negotiation of Identities in Multilingual Contexts (Multilingual Matters, 2004).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Text

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