A Portrait of the Young in the New Multilingual Spain Edited by: Carmen Pérez-Vidal, Maria Juan-Garau, Aurora Bel

Hardback - 312 pages
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12 Nov 2007
Child Language and Child Development
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


The view that a bilingual speaker, or a speaker acquiring more than one language, is the sum of two —or more— monolinguals is proving to be a myth rather than a reality. Accordingly, this book provides a new profile of children and young people becoming bilingual or multilingual in today’s multicultural Spain. The chapters present studies on the acquisition of the four official languages plus the languages of several new communities. They include descriptive, functional, pragmatic and formal perspectives, covering phonetics, lexis, morphology and syntax, as well as code mixing and input, bilingual twins, SLI bilingualism, narratives, literacy, age and stay abroad effects. The book should be of interest to graduate students and researchers working in the field of second and foreign language acquisition and multilingualism, language planners, language teachers and families alike.


It is no surprise that a large amount of interesting contemporary work on all aspects of bi-tri-and multilingualism emanates from Spain. A portrait of the young in the new multilingual Spain provides a rich example of this work, covering many aspects, both internal and external, of a multi-faceted phenomenon. Factors taken into account include the context of acquisition linguistic input, the critical mass hypothesis, the role of the classroom personal factors learners with SLI, learners of different ages, the role of literacy and the nature of bilingual linguistic competence: Grosjean's the bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person. From the grammatical point of view this last factor finds an almost ideal testing ground in Spain, with the availability of bilinguals speaking closely-related languages (Spanish and Catalan) and non-related languages (Basque and Spanish), a fact reflected in this book. Finally, and above all, this book is a striking example of the way attitudes to bi-and multilingualism have changed.

- Professor Clive Perdue, France Université Paris 8, France

This book is rich in facts, ideas, and perspectives. The various chapters together cover just about any aspect of bilingualism or multilingualism, at every level of linguistic description, and in every corner of Spain, drawing on a wide array of theories and methodologies. An enticing read for all those interested in bilingualism in general and in Spain in particular.

- Professor Robert DeKeyser, University of Maryland at College Park, USA

This book thus provides important information about different areas and methods in language acquisition studies carried out in Spain and may have international interest. The range of topics and methodological approaches used reflects the diversity and the different existing possibilities of conducting research on language acquisition

- Studies in Second Language Acquisition - Jasone Cenoz, University of the Basque Country

Author Biography:

Carmen Pérez Vidal received her MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading, UK, and her PhD in English linguistics from the University of Barcelona (Spain). She is Associate Professor in English Linguistics and Language Acquisition at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain), where she is Vicerector of Languages and coordinator of the ALLENCAM and SALA projects. Her research interests and recent publications deal with bilingual, second and foreign language acquisition in different contexts of learning: natural, formal, immersion and stay abroad. She has specialised in writing and the age factor, content and language integrated learning and input effects.

Maria Juan-Garau is Associate Professor in English and Vicedean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts at the Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain), where she currently teaches courses in Applied Linguistics and Language Acquisition research methods. She has also taught EFL at secondary and tertiary level and has been involved in language teacher education. Her research interests and publications include bilingual first language acquisition, with a focus on the pragmatic aspects of mixing, the linguistic analysis of specialized language corpora, and the influence of learning context in foreign language acquisition, with special attention to the effects of study abroad.

Aurora Bel is Associate Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). She currently teaches Language Acquisition and Psycholinguistics. Her interests comprise the acquisition of Spanish and Catalan as first and second languages in multilingual environments, particularly the acquisition of morphosyntax and semantics. Her latest publications include the acquisition of agreement and the study of the knowledge and factors that explain the use of grammatical subjects by different populations of learners (L1, L2). Recently she is also focusing on the abnormal development of language and the language of translators.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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