Multilingualism And Language Shift

Decent Essays
“A language shift occurs when the people in a particular culture or sub-culture change the primary language that they use for communication” (wiseGEEK, n.d). According to Ravindranath (2009), language shift is the process by which a speech community in a contact situation that is consisting of bilingual speakers increasingly stops using one of its two languages prefers by other. Tsitsipis (n.d.) states that when a language is shifting its structural phases do not remain together even though this holds also true for ‘normal’ language change. From a purely linguistic of view, one has to find out which particular changes are due to the influence of the dominant language and which could be explain. Furthermore, the kind and amount of structural…show more content…
Bhatia (2013), states that “bilingualism and multilingualism is an interdisciplinary and complex field”. As is self-evident from the prefixes (bi- and multi-), bilingualism and multilingualism phenomena are devoted to the study of production, processing, and comprehension of two or more languages, respectively. Bilingualism is a specific case of multilingualism, which has no ceiling on the number of languages a speaker may dominate. The timing and sequence in which one learns each of the languages has led to other distinctions between kinds of multilingualism. Much of the linguistics literature, for example, identifies native language or mother tongue as a first language, ignoring the possibility or diminishing the value of having more than one native language or mother tongue. Such a person is often referred to as a simultaneous bilingual, while someone who acquires the second language after the first one is often referred to as a sequential bilingual ("early" if between early childhood and puberty, and "late" if after puberty). The context of language acquisition leads naturally to distinguishing between "informal" bilinguals, who acquire their languages outside of formal settings like schools, imitating the natural processes of acquiring the mother tongue, and "formal" bilinguals, who generally learn the language in schools or similar settings. When these terms apply to groups, one speaks of bilingual or multilingual communities or nations. The aggregate enumeration of the speakers in these groups (also referred to as language diversity or demography) will often profile the number of monolingual and bilingual speakers of each language. For example, there may be a multilingual community in which speakers are monolingual in each of three languages. This would be rare, and the language groups would probably be isolated from each other. More often than
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