The cognitive and psychological dimensions of plurilingualism

Thomas H. Bak*, Dina Mehmedbegovic-Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter explains why the term ‘plurilingualism’ is not widely used in cognitive literature and why the readers think this should change. By the early twenty-first century, studies of cognitive functions in bilingualism, previously focusing mainly on children, started to extend into later life, to encompass first healthy, then also pathological, ageing. Researchers speak about ‘bilingualism leading to a better performance’ on certain cognitive variables rather than monolingualism leading to deficits; about ‘bilingualism delaying the onset of dementia’ rather than monolingualism accelerating it. The UK national census, the main source of information about languages spoken in the country, allows the respondents to name only one ‘main language’, whereas the very essence of the concept of plurilingualism lies in the recognition that there is no such thing as the ‘main language’ in the life of the plurilingual individuals and the communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Plurilingual Language Education
EditorsEnrica Piccardo, Aline Germain-Rutherford, Geoff Lawrence
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781351002783
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2021


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