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Polylingualism, Multilingualism, Plurilingualism (Definitions)

Última actualización: 17 mar 2012

J. Normann Jørgensen, Rosita Rindler-Schjerve & Eva Vetter


The concepts of monolingualism, bilingualism, and multilingualism build on the notion of languages as separate sets of features which can be distinguished from each other and counted. In bilingualism speakers know two such languages, i.e. they have acces to and competence in using two different sets of linguistic features in interaction.

However, over the past decades sociolinguistics has criticized the traditional concept of languages as separate and separable sets of features. The idea of separate languages as bounded systems of specific linguistic features belonging together and excluding other linguistic features is found to be insufficient to capture the reality of language use, at least in late modern superdiverse societies (Vertovec 2010), and perhaps altogether. Instead the concepts of languages as separable entities are seen as sociocultural constructions which certainly are important, but rarely represent real-life language use. Read more...