It has been estimated that about half the world's population is bilingual and that bilingualism can be found in virtually every country of the world. This book is a general introduction to the study of bilingualism from a combined sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic perspective. Drawing on her reseach with Punjabi/English bilinguals in Britain and Tok Pisin/English bilingual children in Papua New Guinea, Professor Romaine explores bilingualism as both a societal and cognitive phenomenon. She therefore sees various aspects of bilingual behaviour such as code-switching and language mixing, in terms of their social functions within the bilingual speech community as well as in terms of neurolinguistic organization in the individual speaker. The author also assesses the positive and negative claims made for the effects of bilingualism on children's cognitive, social and academic development, and examines the assumptions behind various language policies and programs for bilingual children.
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