Introduction. Multilingualism: An endless evolution

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This study focuses on the evolution of multilingualism from a linguistics of communitiy to a linguistics of contact till a linguistics of global societies.The growing international interest in multilingualism, which has been marked by the changing political and economic landscape of different nations in the world, is significantly represented in the media and in public discourse. Globalization, transnational population flows and the spread of new technological platforms have given rise to remarkable linguistic, cultural and demographic transformations, still occurring in the globe. The burgeoning research in bilingualism and multilingualism, which covers a broad range of specific domains from linguistics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics to neurolinguistics and clinical linguistics, from education and societal behaviourism to migration studies and computer- mediated communication, has seen the emergence of new strands of investigation which “have incorporated critical and post-structuralist perspectives from social theory and embraced new epistemologies and research methods” (Martin-Jones, Blackledge and Creese, 2012: 1). Besides, a clear shift of focus to empirical work, which has become more interpretative, ethnographic and multimodal in nature, has reinforced, on the one hand, the understanding of the particularities of multilingual settings and practices and, on the other, has begun to provide insights into the nature of the cultural and societal changes taking place in recent times. Multilingual competences and practices–involving bilingual and multilingual speakers who, while crossing existing social and linguistic boundaries, adapt themselves to unfamiliar and overlapping linguistic spaces–are highly relevant to many areas of linguistic and sociolinguistic investigation. New research on multilingualism and multilingual behaviour is shedding light on the dynamics of multilingual realities, such as multiple language acquisition and learning (L3, L4, Lx), psycho- and neurolinguistic components deriving from conditions of forced multilingual spaces subsequent to forced exiles, patterns of translanguaging, earlybilingualism, and heritage language development.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)7-18
Numero di pagine12
VolumeISSN 2035-2948
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2018


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