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Multilingualism

  • By: Barbara Gerner de García
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Multilingualism, the act of using multiple languages, is a global phenomenon, and languages with powerful status, such as English, dominate. Multilingualism has both psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic aspects. It has a significant impact on schooling and choices for languages in education. This is particularly true for deaf children and adolescents. Finally, multilingualism is a fact of life for many deaf people around the world, and deaf people are as capable of multilingualism as anyone.

From a psycholinguistic perspective, multilingualism has a lot to teach us about human cognition and language acquisition. Sociolinguistics considers the role of multiple languages in societies and includes consideration of social identity, ethnicity, and language as a tool.

We refer to multilingual individuals as polyglots, and the majority of people on our planet ...

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