The case against Monolingual Bias in Multilingualism

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Farah S. Akbar


Driven primarily by globalization, multilingualism has become a topic du jour in the field of applied linguistics in general and in critical applied linguistics in particular (May, 2013). Especially in the last decade, the field has witnessed an intensive period of research into multilingualism and multiple language acquisition. A fundamental premise for research in the field is that a multilingual is not the sum of many monolinguals in the same person. Hence an individual with more than one language needs to be studied as a multilingual, with researchers avoiding a so-called “monolingual bias” (Grosjean, 2008). This commentary presents a short description of the so-called monolingual bias, followed by a brief discussion of the critique mounted over this notion from within SLA, and concludes with a brief analysis of the proposed solution for a way out and forward by Ortega (2010).

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