Multilingualism is everywhere in a globalized society. This book looks at its consequences, from the development of multilingual communities to language competition and variation. Edwards examines lingua francas, pidgins, creoles and artificial languages on the way to developing a snapshot of the social life of language. The book asks: How far a role does translation play in helping multilingualism to thrive? Are polyglots viewed with suspicion, given the links between language and identity? Is language maintenance and revival worth the effort? Can a language remain 'pure'? And if languages constantly shift, what does this say about identity?This compelling and beautifully written short introduction is required reading for all entry-level students of multilingualism, and a primer for language lovers in general.
John Edwards lives in Nova Scotia, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of many books, and the editor of the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.
Prologue; 1. The Diversity of Languages; 2. Interpreting Language Diversity; 3. Multilingual Abilities; 4. The Emergence and Measurement of Multilingualism; 5. The Consequences of Babel: Lingua Francas; 6. The Consequences of Babel: Translation; 7. Keeping Languages Pure; 8. Languages and Identities in Transition; 9. Endangered Languages and the Will to Survive; 10. Linguistic Intervention and the "New" Ecology of Language; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.