Researching Multilingualism and Multilingual Identities

  • Charlotte Burck


In order to ground the study on which this book is based, this first chapter reviews some relevant literature on bilingualism and multilingualism from the fields of linguistics. Issues of language acquisition more generally are touched on, as well as some of the ongoing questions of the relationship between language, thought and experience. I map out changes in the ways in which linguistics research has been carried out, moving from a focus on individual competence to considering bilin-gualism as an interactional resource, and the more recent tradition in sociolinguistics of research which includes the views of speakers — an approach which I adopt in my own work. Findings about the effects of bilingualism and multilingualism, which have highlighted individuals’ differential experiences in their languages, are discussed, and questions are raised about the implications that result. Ideas from identity studies, cultural and critical theory, and translation studies relevant to this work are then outlined.


Cultural Identity Mother Tongue Language Acquisition Power Relationship Racialized Identity 
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© Charlotte Burck 2005

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  • Charlotte Burck

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