Language and Aging in Multilingual Contexts Author: Kees de Bot, Sinfree Makoni

Hardback - 168 pages
Related Formats:
Paperback PDF 
15 Sep 2005
Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


In this book different aspects of language and aging are discussed. While language spoken by and language spoken with elderly people have been treated as different areas of research, it is argued here that from a dynamical system perspective the two are closely interrelated. In addition to overviews of research on language and aging, a number of projects on this topic in multilingual settings are presented.


This excellent volume covers thoroughly the subject matter delineated in its title. It should be required reading for anyone who is a student in a gerontology or geriatrics program and is the best overall account of a complex set of interrelated, interdisciplinary matters related to aging, language, and multilingualism.

- Language Problems and Language Planning 31:1 - Frank Nuessel, University of Louisville

This complex book is rich with information and insight. Through its unique theoretical approach, Language and Aging in Multilingual Contexts provokes thought and curiosity about a fascinating field of study.

- Volume 51, Issue 22 of PsycCRITIQUES - Francine Conway and Nina Finkel

Scholars investigating social gerontology during the past three decades have produced an enormous amount of empirical research studying a wide variety of issues related to the aging process. Language and aging in multicultural settings: A dynamic perspective is among the best written, most comprehensive, and most compelling books to be published during this period. The authors advance a dynamic and an integrative approach toward our understanding of the aging process that places Language at the very core of any competent understanding of the aging process. This book advances our understanding of aging, the role language plays in the aging process and is certainly a must read for any scholar interested in the aging process.

- Jon F. Nussbaum, Professor of Communication & Aging and Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University, University Park

This is pioneering research. Most work on language and aging has assumed declining ability, and very little has taken the complexity of multilingual settings into account. De Bot and Makoni’s book offers a thorough review of the research record. But it also decisively breaks new ground. It uses Dynamic Systems Theory to provide ways of understanding language development as continuing over the lifespan, and it tests and advances the theory in three major “situated” empirical studies involving different ethnic and linguistic communities, all in multilingual environments. The results redefine the field, prompting new directions in research and in the treatment of the elderly.

- Stanley G M Ridge, Dean: Faculty of Arts, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

This valuable volume offers a complex and nuanced understanding of both language and aging while underscoring the importance relating both to larger, diverse contexts that older people find themselves in. It serves to remind us to constantly view and interpret the speech of older citizens in the most humane of terms.

- Vaidehi Ramanathan, Professor, University of California, Davis

The studies presented in the book are important in several respects. The three studies [mentioned in the book] may represent an important step toward understanding language and aging in diverse bilingual populations. The studies reported in the book may provide important information regarding service delivery to bilingual elderly people.

- Linguist List 17.384 - Liang Chen

Author Biography:

Kees de Bot is Chair of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen. His research interests include psycholinguistic aspects of multilingualism, maintenance and loss of languages and language policy. More recently he has turned his interest to the application of Dynamic Systems Theory in applied Linguistics.

Sinfree Makoni is an internationalist. He did his Phd in the UK and has held a number of professional appointments in the Africa and currently teaches in the US.  His main research interests are aging and health in multilingual contexts across the globe, and language in urban contexts.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

Table of Contents

View PDF Table of Contents

Book Preview