Bilingualism is a term that refers to the use of two languages at the individual or societal level with approximately complementary degrees of proficiency in both languages. It is a dynamic and complex social and individual process involving sociocultural, linguistic, cognitive, and academic factors. However, within this all-encompassing definition of the term, there is room for making sense of what bilingualism means; it can be examined through the associated fields of second language acquisition theories, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, code-switching, biliteracy, and the general intersection of language and society. This entry examines definitions of bilingualism, examines historical approaches to bilingualism in U.S. culture, looks briefly at educational policy in this area, and closes with a look at the role of bilingualism in the 21st century.

Defining ...

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