- Paperback - 264 pages
- 13 Dec 2006
- Multilingual Matters
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- offers an insight into the reality and complexity of multilingualism in Europe - Aimed at a diverse readership: of interest to pre- and in-service teachers, researchers, students and those working in sociology, psychology, second language acquisition and education
To say that multilingualism is the norm and monolingualism the exception has become a truism. In fact, the European Union is clearly committed to a multilingual Europe in which all its educational systems are advised to include two Community languages. It is in this context where this volume analyses the language use and attitudes of would-be teachers, as they will play a paramount role when it comes to keeping multilingualism as one of the key features of the European identity. There are four main reasons why this volume can make a contribution to this field of research. Firstly, it is a transnational study involving nine different bilingual states/areas which allows the reader to compare contexts that, despite sharing some similarities, do have their own pecularities. Secondly, it considers not only the minority and majority languages, but also the different foreign languages. Thirdly, it relies on the same instrument and methodology. And last but not least, the participants will have an enormous influence on their different educational systems and on their students’ linguistic perceptions.
The major challenge facing research on language use and attitudes is the generalization of findings. This is exactly what Lasagabaster & Huguet have managed to do for the European context in this book. By asking prominent researchers to apply the same research design in their unique bilingual context and have them analyze the data using the same techniques in order to answer common research questions, the editors have managed to create an unusually coherent edited volume that is most enlightening and satisfying to read.
Birkbeck, University of London
I have often bemoaned the fact that the ever more numerous studies of minority languages and their contexts restrict themselves to their particular situation, which is why the results can never be extrapolated. This book ushers in a new methodology and for that reason alone merits close condideration.
Miquel Siguan, Emeritus Professor, University of Barcelona
The wish of the European Union that European citizens should become proficient in three European languages, that is, in most cases in their primary language and two other European languages, represents many challenges for future language education. Language attitudes towards multilingualism and additional language learning in different bilingual contexts can have an enormous impact on the linguistic development of both communities and individuals. This transnational study presents a most welcome and significant contribution to research of third language learning and trilingual education in Europe. The data of this large-scale study provide important clues for language planning and policy. One of the strong points of this volume is the discussion of the key role that language awareness plays in the development of multilingualism.
Ulrike Jessner, University of Innsbruck
David Lasagabaster is associate professor of English Studies at the University of the Basque Country. He has published on second language acquisition, foreign language teaching methodology, bilingualism and multilingualism. His latest publications include the volume Trilingüismo en la enseñanza. Actitudes hacia la lengua minoritaria, la mayoritaria y la extranjera (2003) published in Lleida by Milenio Educación and the co-edited (together with Juan Manuel Sierra) volumes Multilingüismo y multiculturalismo en la escuela (2005) and Multilingüismo, competencia lingüística y nuevas tecnologías (2005), both published in Barcelona by Horsori.; Ángel Huguet is Lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. His research line during the last ten years has been focused on multilingualism and bilingual education. His current interests are oriented towards equal opportunities at school in contexts of immigration. His latest publications include the volumes El conocimiento de la lengua castellana en alumnado inmigrante escolarizado en 1º de ESO. Un estudio empírico (2005) co-authored with José Luis Navarro and published in Madrid by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, and Fundamentos en educación bilingüe (2006) co-authored with José María Madariaga and published in Bilbao by the University of the Basque Country.
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