Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

"Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism" (book)

Expand Messages
  • Don Osborn
    FYI (fwd from the Linguist list)... DZO Date: 22-Jun-2005 From: Jamie O Brien Subject: Multiple Voices: Myers-Scotton
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 8, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      FYI (fwd from the Linguist list)... DZO

      Date: 22-Jun-2005
      From: Jamie O'Brien <jobrien@...>
      Subject: Multiple Voices: Myers-Scotton

      Title: Multiple Voices
      Subtitle: An Introduction to Bilingualism
      Published: 2005
      Publisher: Blackwell Publishing

      Author: Carol Myers-Scotton, University of South Carolina
      Hardback: ISBN: 0631219366 Pages: 472 Price: U.K. £ 60.00
      Paperback: ISBN: 0631219374 Pages: 472 Price: U.S. $ 36.95
      Paperback: ISBN: 0631219374 Pages: 472 Price: U.K. £ 19.99
      Hardback: ISBN: 0631219366 Pages: 472 Price: U.S. $ 71.95

      Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism provides a
      comprehensive overview of all major features of bilingualism,
      including grammatical, cognitive, and social aspects. It examines
      bilingualism as a socio-political phenomenon and emphasizes languages
      in contact, language maintenance and shift, language policy, and
      bilingual education. The book includes many detailed examples from
      all over the world.

      This is written accessibly for students with little or no background
      in linguistics by a prominent bilingualism researcher.

      Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

      Written In: English (ENG )

      See this book announcement on our website:
    • Don Osborn
      FYI. This is a review (fwd from Linguist list) of a book for which the announcement was posted as message #289... DZO Date: 07-Dec-2005 From: Shiv Upadhyay
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 14, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        FYI. This is a review (fwd from Linguist list) of a book for which the
        announcement was posted as message #289... DZO

        Date: 07-Dec-2005
        From: Shiv Upadhyay <upadhyay@...>
        Subject: Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism

        AUTHOR: Myers-Scotton, Carol
        TITLE: Multiple Voices
        SUBTITLE: An Introduction to Bilingualism
        PUBLISHER: Blackwell Publishing
        YEAR: 2005
        Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-1933.html

        Shiv R. Upadhyay, Department of Languages, Literatures, and
        Linguistics, York University, Toronto

        ''Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism'' is written by
        veteran linguist and author Carol Myers-Scotton. The stated goal of
        the book is to serve ''as a textbook for courses that are particularly
        concerned with bilingualism as a socio-political phenomenon in the
        world'' (p. x). It is intended for ''upper-level undergraduates ... or
        beginning-level Master's degree students'' (p. x). Its treatment of
        bilingualism as a multidisciplinary phenomenon and the detailed but
        easy-to-understand discussions of various aspects of bilingualism make
        this book a solid and welcome contribution to the field.

        In Chapter One, Myers-Scotton introduces a number terms and concepts
        that are relevant to the study of bilingualism. The author also
        addresses questions that are likely to interest the reader. She argues
        that the study of bilingualism is warranted because it investigates
        the competence of humans, that is their ''genetic potential'' (p. 12),
        to become bilingual and the human experience of living with two or
        more languages. The chapter ends with an outline of various aspects of
        bilingualism to be discussed in the chapters to follow.

        In Chapter Two, the author begins by answering some basic questions
        about what language is and how it is perceived. In the course of
        answering these questions, the author discusses mutual intelligibility
        and socio-political basis as criteria generally used to identify two
        languages as the same or different and cites a lot of actual examples
        from all over the world to illustrate her discussion. The rest of the
        chapter examines various questions about dialects, including how
        standard dialects are identified, how the term dialect is understood
        and used, how dialects differ from one another, and how regional and
        social dialects are identified.

        Chapter Three addresses several sociolinguistic aspects of
        bilingualism. They include social factors that motivate bilingualism
        and various considerations that go into assessing a speaker's
        proficiency in bilingualism. The author defines bilingualism as ''the
        ability to use two or more languages sufficiently to carry on a
        limited casual conversation'' (p. 44) and identifies and explains two
        sets of conditions under which bilingualism is promoted, namely close
        proximity and displacement conditions.

        Chapter Four discusses three models of community organization which
        the author uses to explain various contexts of multiculturalism in
        which speakers either maintain their L1 or shift to L2. In the context
        of horizontal multiculturalism, in which speakers are generally
        monolingual and ''live in their own geographic spaces'' (p. 71), they
        are likely to keep their L1 and even ''resist bilingualism'' (p. 72).
        On the other hand, in communities with vertical multiculturalism, in
        which people come in contact with speakers of other languages, they
        are likely to shift to L2 or become ''very proficient'' in it if it is
        the ''urban lingua franca'' (p. 72). In communities that are organized
        in terms of social networks, horizontal multilingualism is a possible
        outcome if people have ''strong ties within their home network'' (p.
        73). In networks with weak ties, people tend to learn L2 in order to
        connect with L2 speakers. Similarly, in communities where
        ethnolinguistic vitality (measured in terms of sociological variables)
        is high, speakers are likely to maintain their L1. In the rest of
        Chapter Four, the author discusses in detail the notion of diglossia,
        the domains in which the languages of a bilingual community are
        distributed, actual cases of language maintenance and shift from all
        around the world, language shift by young speakers to a dominant
        language, and the separation of cultural maintenance and language

        Chapter Five discusses how ideologies and attitudes are relevant to
        the decisions that individuals and nation states make about whether
        they want to be bilingual or monolingual. While both attitudes and
        language ideologies are viewed as ''assessments'' that are held
        unconsciously, the latter are generally constructed and are more
        likely to be brought to consciousness because of their reference to
        group interests. In her discussion of the link that language attitudes
        and language ideologies have with nationalities, the author views
        language as ''an important part of the collective awareness of a
        group'' (p. 111). Because of its status as a visible language and its
        instrumental basis, language users as well as nation states can
        ''mobilize to protect or advance their language'' (p. 112). The author
        explains that the existence of a separate language does not
        necessarily mean that it will be used to claim a separate nation
        state. The author also briefly talks about the concept of linguistic
        marketplace and goes on to discuss in detail how group identities are
        formed in bilingual contexts. The rest of this chapter is devoted to
        the discussion of various aspects of language attitudes and
        ideologies. The author discusses how speakers express their attitudes
        in terms of such theoretical constructs and frameworks as
        ethnolinguistic vitality, matched guise test, and accommodation
        theory, citing findings from studies carried out using these
        frameworks. In the last section of this chapter, the author defines
        language ideologies as ''patterns of belief and practice, which make
        some existing arrangements appear natural and others not'' (p. 135)
        and discusses such questions as how they play a role in the globalized
        world, when local languages are ignored, and when a language group
        symbolically dominates another language.

        Chapter Six is on the social motivations for language use in
        interpersonal interactions. The fundamental claim supported in this
        chapter is that by using a certain linguistic variety, speakers
        indicate ''both their view of themselves and their relationships with
        other participants in the conversation'' (p. 143). The author talks
        about the indexical nature of linguistic choices that speakers make
        and explains that such choices are pragmatically significant since
        they are based on ''the social and psychological features or
        attributes'' (p. 149) that are associated with the language speakers
        choose to speak. The author also points out that the social meaning of
        linguistic choices that speakers make generally comes from the
        situation of language use. In the next three sections of this chapter,
        the author discusses various findings from studies associated with the
        Matched Guise Test, the Accommodation Theory, and the Markedness Model
        to show that speakers communicate social meanings when they switch
        from one dialect or language to another. The author concludes by
        contrasting the Accommodation Theory and Markedness Model with
        Conversation Analysis. While the first two use a deductive method of
        analysis, the third uses an inductive one. Analysts who work within
        the first two frameworks bring to their analysis speaker motives and
        intensions whereas those who work within the third framework reject
        them. The author raises the question of how Conversation Analysts
        ''view cognitive resources'' (p. 174).

        Chapter Seven deals with the issue of how cultural differences affect
        intercultural communication in bilingual and multilingual contexts.
        The author discusses with real examples from studies of Asian and
        African cultures that classify societies on the basis of whether they
        are predominantly individualistic or collectivistic, whether they are
        high- or low-context cultures, and whether people form relationships
        of equality or hierarchy. Collectivistic and high-context cultures
        both favor indirectness in speech as a way to maintain harmony whereas
        individualistic and low-context cultures favor directness in speech as
        it allows individuals to express their opinions. Cultures are also
        classified in terms of how much equality or hierarchy individuals
        emphasize in their relationships. Culturally induced language behavior
        also involves politeness, which is conceptualized differently in
        different cultures. To show how culturally defined politeness affects
        one's language behavior, the author explains how requests are made
        differently in Western and non-Western cultures. The author also
        discusses how the power differential is differently viewed and used in
        language and how cross-cultural conflicts are managed in different
        cultural groups.

        Chapter Eight focuses on lexical borrowing in bilingual contexts. The
        author defines lexical borrowing as ''incorporating words from one
        language (the donor language) in another (the recipient language)''
        (p. 211) and talks about two categories of borrowings, namely cultural
        and core. When a language borrows words for objects and concepts that
        do not exist in it, such words are viewed as cultural borrowings. Core
        borrowings take place when a language borrows words whose equivalents
        already exist in the language. The author identifies and explains
        three types of indirect borrowings: calques (loan translation),
        loanshifts (borrowed words that are given a different meaning in the
        recipient language), and loanblends (words that are created by
        blending words from the donor and recipient languages). The author
        then discusses the phonological and morphological integration of
        borrowed words into the recipient language and various hypotheses of
        why nouns are the most frequently borrowed category. Finally, the
        author makes the point that borrowed words are ''evidence of earlier
        cultural contacts'' (p. 230).

        Chapter Nine addresses the question of what happens to grammars in
        bilingual contacts. After defining and illustrating several technical
        terms, the author discusses codeswitching. She defines codeswitching
        as ''the use of two languages in the same conversation'' (p. 239). The
        author then introduces the Matrix Language Frame (MLF) as a model for
        classic codeswitching, a bilingual phenomenon which involves
        ''elements from two (or more) languages varieties in the same clause,
        but only one of the varieties is the source of the morphosyntactic
        frame for the clause'' (p. 241). Classic codeswitching is contrasted
        with composite codeswitching, a bilingual phenomenon ''in which even
        though most of the morphosyntactic structure comes from one of the
        participating languages, the other language contributes some of the
        abstract structure underlying surface forms of the clause'' (p. 242).
        Crucial to the MLF model is the distinction between content morphemes
        and system morphemes. Content morphemes are words that assign thematic
        roles; verbs and nouns are identified as ''prototypical content
        morphemes'' (p. 245). System morphemes are words that do not assign
        thematic roles; prototypical system morphemes are ''all affixes and
        function words that stand alone (e.g. determiners and clitics)'' (p.

        Chapter Nine also talks about two main groups of researchers who are
        interested in studying codeswitching. The main concern of one group of
        researchers is to uncover ''constraints on points in a sentence where
        codeswitching can occur on the basis of surface-level linear
        differences between the languages involved'' (p. 250). The other group
        of researchers focuses on ''looking for explanations at a more
        abstract level than linear structure'' (p. 252). The author also
        mentions a model based on Chomsky's Minimalist Program that some
        researchers in the second group employ to account for codeswitching,
        but she comments that codeswitching cannot be adequately explained
        using this model. In addition, she argues that, while the status of
        singly occurring words from the Embedded Language remains
        controversial, such words ''resemble Embedded Language phrases in
        codeswitching more than they resemble established borrowings'' (p.
        254). Another section of Chapter Nine talks about the T-4 model that
        the author along with her associate Janice Jake developed in order to
        explain ''some of the codeswitching data that the MLF model covers''
        (p. 267) more precisely. Toward the end of the chapter, the author
        discusses pidgins and creoles but elaborates on the latter since
        ''their structures are more complex'' (p. 278) and are ''related to
        the 4-M model'' (p. 278). The author argues that the substrate
        language plays a ''major role in providing a morphosyntactic frame for
        the developing creole'' (p. 285).

        Chapter Ten surveys bilingualism from the psycholinguistic
        perspective. The author points out that, while the question of ''how
        the bilingual's languages are organized in the mind'' (p. 197) remains
        unsettled, the more current position holds that ''bilinguals have two
        distinct memories and semantic systems'' (p. 297). On the theme of
        bilingual activation, the author states that, while in the past it was
        viewed that a bilingual's languages were not activated simultaneously,
        a generally agreed-upon view now is that both languages are always
        activated to varying degrees. The author also points out that findings
        from lexical decision tasks suggest that bilinguals have simultaneous,
        rather than selective, access to their languages. The author discusses
        how various models of language production vary in their answer to the
        question, ''At what level is the phonological form of a word... in
        place?'' In discussing memory, the author reports that researchers
        agree that some structures in the brain are modified as a result of
        learning and experience and that there are ''two general memory
        systems, a short-term memory system and a long-term memory system''
        (p. 311). The author finally discusses the effects of aphasia on
        bilinguals and the patterns of language recovery.

        Chapter Eleven begins by addressing two questions about ''the relation
        between childhood language acquisition and later L2 acquisition'' (p.
        324). The author views as normal those bilinguals who learn to speak
        two or more languages when they are young because children are
        genetically predisposed to ''acquire human languages'' (p. 325). She
        supports the argument that humans are equipped with an innate ability
        to acquire language by alluding to the evidence that shows that
        ''children all over the world go through similar stages when they
        acquire the grammatical systems of their specific languages'' and that
        both monolinguals and young bilinguals ''go through similar stages of
        acquisition'' (p. 326). The author states that ''actual exposure to a
        language in use'' (p. 326) is necessary for children to acquire the
        language and that bilinguals may face a different socio-cultural
        context of language acquisition from that faced by monolinguals. She
        discusses practical and theoretical reasons for studying child
        bilingualism and the problems facing such studies. In another section,
        the author explains the positive answers researchers have offered to
        the questions of whether child bilinguals form two separate language
        systems and whether ''switching between languages'' is
        ''constraint-governed in a grammatical sense'' (p. 331). The author
        also discusses the questions of whether being an early bilingual is an
        advantage or a disadvantage and whether early acquisition affects some
        systems the most.

        The rest of Chapter Eleven is devoted to various aspects of late
        second language acquisition. Although the author cites several studies
        to point out that researchers do not agree with the idea of the
        Critical Age Hypothesis, she concludes that researchers agree that
        ''late learners are much less successful in language learning than
        young children'' (p. 350). The final section of this chapter explains
        various answers that have been offered to questions about second
        language acquisition (SLA). SLA researchers are shown as broadly
        divided into two groups, namely Universal Grammar (UG) proponents and
        those who are instruction-centered. According to UG proponents, first
        language acquisition shares ''distinct similarities'' (p. 356) with
        second language acquisition. They argue that learners of a second
        language ''have some access to the same innate language faculty (UG)''
        (p. 356) that enables children to acquire their L1 naturally. On the
        other hand, those who are instruction-centered argue that first
        language acquisition and second language acquisition are quite
        different and that UG is not actively accessible to second language
        learners. Instruction-centered researchers are however divided on the
        issue of whether explicit learning or implicit learning is the best
        way for learners to learn a second language. The author also gives a
        critical assessment of these two approaches to second language
        acquisition and, citing from a 2005 study by a researcher, concludes
        by pointing out three main themes that have dominated the current
        research on second language learning: the age factor, second language
        processing, and language transfer.

        Chapter Twelve is on language policy and globalization. In the
        introductory section, the author discusses the rise of the nation
        state and the problems resulting from fixing national borders. She
        also addresses the question of who plans language policies and
        discusses the problems faced by language planners. The author
        identifies four main socio-political developments today that relate to
        language policy: immigration, education for immigrants and indigenous
        minorities, the rise of English as an international lingua franca, and
        the formation of the European Union. She points out that the issues of
        language rights and endangered languages come up within the context of
        these four socio-political developments.

        In the succeeding sections of Chapter Twelve, the author discusses
        status planning, corpus planning, and acquisition planning. The
        discussion of status planning includes problematic language situations
        in Canada, Australia, Cameroon, India, and South Africa. Similarly,
        the discussion of corpus planning includes examples of language reform
        carried out in Asia and Turkey. In discussing acquisition planning,
        the author points out two potentially contradictory situations that
        acquisition planners can face. First, they are aware of the link
        between national economic development and literacy rate and of a
        commonly held belief among educators that it is easier to make
        children literate through their L1. Second, language planners are also
        aware that education in the official language promotes in minority
        children a sense of belonging in the nation. The author identifies
        four main types of bilingual programs and discusses bilingual or
        multilingual situations in Latvia, Bolivia, and Canada to illustrate
        the difficulty involved in acquisition planning. Her discussion also
        includes a brief history of bilingual education in the United States.
        She concludes by saying that ''most Anglo-Americans are likely to
        support'' (p. 405) a bilingual education program that aims at moving
        non-Anglo speakers to the use of English. Chapter Twelve also
        discusses the status of English as an international lingua franca and
        the case of Cambodia to illustrate how English is replacing French. In
        the last section of this chapter, the author places English, French,
        and German in a diglossic relationship with other European languages
        within the context of the European Union.

        Chapter Thirteen is very brief, and it reminds the reader of the main
        themes covered in the book. The author concludes by listing ''five
        most important points'' (p. 414) that the reader is expected to take
        away from the book.


        ''Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism'' is written by an
        author who has contributed to the study of bilingualism over a long
        period of time. While the book is written with a socio-political
        focus, it also provides detailed discussions of the grammatical and
        cognitive aspects of bilingualism. Because of its coverage of multiple
        perspectives on bilingualism, the book is expected to serve students
        and scholars in a variety of disciplines.

        There are several features that add to the value of the book. One of
        them is that each chapter begins with a real story of a person from a
        different part of the world whose life is linked to bilingualism or
        multilingualism. These stories not only serve as an interesting
        beginning of a chapter but also help to show that bilingualism is a
        real human phenomenon with socio-cultural and socio-political
        consequences. Another feature, which is valuable to students in
        particular, is that important concepts and terms are put in bold so
        that the reader would pay attention to them. Another feature that I
        view as helpful is that each chapter ends with a summery and a list of
        terms and concepts that readers, particularly students, would do well
        to remember. Another feature that I found interesting is the use of
        rather informal tone of voice as illustrated by these examples: ''Just
        for your information, there are two sets of signs that are relevant to
        your life.'' (p. 145);'' ''That is, for each of you, unmarked choices
        would be considered not only expected, but also appropriate, for
        certain interaction types in your community and marked choices would
        be unexpected, given the interaction type'' (p. 179); ''Your author
        (Meyers-Scotton, 2001; 2000) offers another explanation for creole
        formation ...'' (p. 285). The use of pronoun 'you' and pronominal
        adjective 'your' in these sentences can create a friendly image of the
        author, which may foster learning particularly in beginning-level
        readers. In addition, the writer provides in easy-to-understand
        language detailed discussions of various topics and issues in
        bilingualism with abundant citations from past and latest studies.

        While these features add to the value of the book, a few more would
        have enhanced its usefulness as a textbook. A set of study questions
        at the end of each chapter would be good particularly for
        beginning-level students. Also, a list of further studies would
        benefit particularly those who wish to acquire a further and more
        detailed knowledge of certain aspects of bilingualism. In addition, it
        would be useful to have a glossary of important terms and concepts
        covered in the book. Perhaps, the author would consider these
        suggestions for the second edition of the book, which I hope will come
        out soon given its high value both as a text and resource book.

        To conclude, I view ''Multiple Voices: An Introduction to
        Bilingualism'' as a very valuable addition to the pool of books on the
        study of bilingualism. Given its multidisciplinary approach, the
        sufficiently elaborated discussions of bilingual topics and issues,
        and the inclusion in these discussions of many relevant and up-to-date
        studies, this book is an excellent choice as a textbook for a
        bilingualism course. This book will also serve well students,
        instructors and scholars in a variety of disciplines who are
        interested in any of the many aspects of bilingualism.


        Crystal, David, ed. (1998) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.
        Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

        Romaine, Suzanne (1999) Bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.


        Shiv R. Upadhyay is a faculty member in the Department of Languages,
        Literatures, and Linguistics at York University, Toronto. His research
        interests are in sociolinguistics, pragmatics, discourse analysis,
        language variation and change, language gender, and language
        acquisition. He has recently investigated linguistic politeness in
        Nepali print media and revisited the link between linguistic
        indirectness and politeness. He is currently working on the
        sociolinguistic variation of gender agreement in Nepali and the
        grammatical competence of university-level ESL students.
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.