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By Ng Bee Chin & Gillian Wigglesworth

Bilingualism: introduces scholars to key concerns and issues that come with bilingual improvement and schooling; and the mixing of social and cognitive views makes use of projects and examples to equip the reader with the required abilities and insights to evaluate and interpret study drawn from bilingual populations accommodates case reviews drawn from quite a number international locations reminiscent of the USA, South Africa, the Netherlands, Morocco, and the People's Republic of China gathers jointly influential readings from key names within the self-discipline, together with: Fred Genesee, Richard Bourhis, Elizabeth Peal, Wallace Lambert, Merrill Swain, Jim Cummins, and Ellen Bialystok. Written through skilled lecturers and researchers within the box, Bilingualism is an essential textbook for college students and researchers of utilized Linguistics. The accompanying web site to this ebook are available at http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415343879.

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Extra info for Bilingualism: An Advanced Resource Book (Routledge Applied Linguistics)

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What do you need to know to be able to speak and use a language? Clearly, you need to know how the grammar works, how to pronounce the language, and the vocabulary of the language. But what else do you need to know? Defining the language construct What do we mean when we say that someone knows how to use a language (Spolsky 1985)? This is something to which language testers have given considerable thought because before measures can be developed, we must know what the construct is – in other words, we need to know what, exactly, it is that we are measuring.

However, the importance of appropriate assessment of the needs of such children cannot be overestimated. This is because these children now make up a substantial < previous page page_33 next page > < previous page page_34 next page > Page 34 proportion of the school population. Mahon et al. (2003) point out that one in eight schoolchildren in the UK come from a minority ethnic background. In the US, the number of limited-English-proficient (LEP) students attending school increased by 65 per cent in the ten years from 1994 to 2004, with approximately one in ten schoolchildren now coming from such backgrounds.

How do we measure the language knowledge of native speakers? As you can probably infer from the discussion of the complex nature of defining bilingualism in Unit A1, the measurement of bilingual language skill is far from simple. We have seen that the range of what can constitute a definition of bilingualism falls anywhere along a continuum from full competence in one language plus limited knowledge of a second, to apparent full competence in all skills in two or more languages. In addition to this, as we saw, we need also to be aware of the importance of identifying the range of variables which impact on bilingual language use – such factors as the age of acquisition, the various domains of language use (which may be different for both languages), and the socio-cultural contexts in which the languages are used.

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