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ERIC Number: ED499506
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 296
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-2759-9912-4
Living Languages: Multilingualism across the Lifespan
Tokuhama-Espinosa, Tracey
Globalization is on everyone's tongue, and the discussion is not only limited to economic exchange, but expands to the intermingling of cultural values. To be truly successful in the international arena, whether as an immigrant, student, businessperson, or tourist, openness toward other cultures is vital and the most obvious door to those cultures is through language. Learning a second language is no longer an option for many, it is both a survival tool and an opportunity. This book is an aid to parents, educators, researchers, and individuals who want facts about foreign language learning in order to apply concrete tools to maximize their potential in this area, independent of their age. This book examines the various factors in successful multilingualism across the lifespan, discussing groups such as those lucky enough to enjoy bilingualism from birth to those who become foreign language learners in adulthood. Special attention is paid to a critique of the academic critical years concept and the question, how long does it take a non-native speaker to become fluent? While many are concerned with bilingualism, millions around the world live with three or more languages. For those considering adding a third language, this book looks at the benefits of bilingualism that transfer to trilingualism. Finally, the book establishes methods for teaching foreign languages and hints for home support that maximize each person's potential for languages. Eight chapters comprise this book. Chapter 1 begins by reviewing the ten key factors in raising multilingual children (aptitude, timing, motivation, strategy, consistency, opportunity, the linguistic relationship between the languages, siblings, gender and hand-use as a reflection of cerebral dominance). Chapter 2 celebrates how lucky we are to be living at this particular point in history since languages are highly valued around the world by a myriad of professions, something that marks a turning point in human linguistic endeavors. Chapters 3 delves into languages across the human lifespan and defines seven different life stages from birth to adulthood. Chapter 4 focuses on the distinction of language for school versus language for play, or academic versus social language skills. This is followed by the developmental steps of language acquisition, from comprehension to speaking to reading and finally writing. Chapter 5 explains how third languages differ from second languages in terms of how they are learned. Chapter 6 is dedicated to explaining how the brain works when it takes on more than one language. Chapter 7 focuses on the impact different key players in a person's life have on language learning--including families, schools, and society--and what these players can do to encourage the best possible learning environments. Finally, Chapter 8 offers a personal reflection and recounts our family story covering five countries, four languages, three kids, two nationalities, and one home. An index is included. (Contains 5 tables, 6 figures, and 186 notes.)
Praeger. Available from: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. P.O. Box 5926, Portsmouth, NH 03802-6926. Tel: 800-225-5800; Fax: 603-431-2214; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Parents; Teachers; Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A