Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Bilingual Education

Series: Multilingual Matters (No. 84)
This book is an anthology of articles on ethnic bilingualism and bilingual education from a primarily sociolinguistics perspective, i.e. anthropology and sociology are the major disciplines utilised in searching for an understanding of the phenomena of bilingual education while no methodological-pedagogical issues are considered. Bilingual education is seen as the result of societal factors rather than the cause of certain behaviours in children. Bilingualism of an ethnic group within a nation state is seen to reinforce the boundaries between that group and the larger society, often undertaken to enable a group to resist assimilation. The book covers a number of topics. Some chapters deal with theoretical perspectives, one in particular with theoretical paradigms: the functional (equilibrium) paradigm and the conflict paradigm are posited and discussed from the viewpoint of problem formulation in bilingual education. Other chapters are concerned with research methodology and the use of quantitative and qualitative data in terms of the relationship between theoretical paradigm and research methodology. Also considered are comparative studies in bilingual education in order to clarify the question of the generalisability of the research. In addition, a number of case studies are scrutinised in order to explore the theoretical issues considered. Two other topics are dealt with: the notion of biculturalism, and steps and procedures in language planning as it concerns bilingual education.