The handbook of bilingualism. Ed. by Tej K. Bhatia and William C. Ritchie. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. Pp. xviii, 884. ISBN 0631227342. $146.95 (Hb).
Reviewed by Bingyun Li, Fujian Normal University
This handbook is divided into four parts. Part 1, ‘Overview and foundations’, presents some foundational issues of bilingualism (John V. Edwards) and conceptual and methodological issues in studying bilingualism (François Grosjean). It is a pity that Grosjean does not touch upon how to collect, transcribe, and categorize naturalistic data or on problems related to data analysis.
Part 2, ‘Neurological and psychological aspects of bilingualism’, is divided into five sections. Section 1, ‘Neurology’, contains only one chapter, which looks at the phenomenon of bilingual aphasia (Elizabeth Ijalba, Loraine K. Obler, and Shyamala Chengappa). Section 2, ‘Approaches to bilingualism and language acquisition’, deals with the development of child bilingualism (Jürgen M. Meisel) and the relationship between bilingualism and second language acquisition (Yuko G. Butler and Kenji Hakuta). Section 3, ‘Bilingual language use: Knowledge, comprehension, and production’, focuses on how grammar plays a role in bilinguals’ speech comprehension and production. It would be better if pragmatic aspects of bilingual language use were also included. Section 4, ‘Bilingualism: Memory, cognition, and emotion’, looks at bilingual memory (Roberto Heredia and Jefferey M. Brown) and emotional and mental aspects of bilinguals (Jeanette Altarriba and Rachel Morier). The final section, ‘The bilingual’s repertoire: Code mixing, code switching, and speech accommodation’, treats code mixing, code switching, and speech accommodation, the more extensively researched areas in bilingualism. Of particular note are Ch. 13, ‘Social and psychological factors in language mixing’ (William C. Ritchie and Tej K. Bhatia), and Ch. 14, ‘Bilingual accommodation’ (Itesh Sachdev and Howard Giles), the latter of which ‘aims to provide a general overview of a social psychological approach to bilingual communication that springboards from notions of bilingual accommodation’ (353).
Part 3, ‘Societal bilingualism and its effects’, is divided into two sections and focuses on how social factors have an important bearing upon bilingualism. The first section, ‘Language contact, maintenance, and endangerment’ consists of five chapters. Ch. 15, ‘The bilingual and multilingual community’ (Suzanne Romaine), provides an overview of types of bilingual and multilingual communities. Ch. 16, ‘Language maintenance, language shift, and reversing language shift’ (Joshua A. Fishman), presents a blueprint for the restoration of endangered languages, an issue of major concern to many members of linguistic minorities. Ch. 17, ‘Minority and endangered languages’ (Nancy C. Dorian), provides an in-depth review of a wide variety of issues concerning the process of language endangerment. Ch. 18, ‘Multilingualism in linguistic history: Creolization and indigenization’ (Salikoko Mufwene), argues against the traditional view that special processes of creolization and indigenization occur in multilingual societies and in favor of the notion that the processes occur in any case of language change determined by language contact. Finally, Ingrid Piller and Aneta Pavlenko (Ch. 19, ‘Bilingualism and gender’) discuss gender and bilingualism in various contexts.
In Section 2 of Part 3, ‘Bilingualism: The media, education, and literacy’, Ch. 20 (‘Bilingualism in the global media and advertising’ by Tej K. Bhatia and William C. Ritchie) is a review of work on the place of languages in a bi-/multilingual society in the media in general and in advertising in particular. It addresses the question of why more than one language might be used in the advertiser’s effort to attract buyers for products and services. Ch. 21, ‘What do we know about bilingual education for majority-language students?’ (Fred Genesee), reviews in depth the research on one case of bilingual education. Ch. 22, ‘The impact of bilingualism on language and literacy development’ (Ellen Bialystok), discusses the wide range of factors that contribute to or detract from success in the attainment of literacy in bilinguals.
Part 4, ‘Global perspectives and challenges: Case studies’, examines the state of bilingualism in the Americas, in Europe, in Southern Africa, in East, South, and Central Asia, and finally, in the Middle East and in North Africa.
All in all, this handbook covers current important issues in bilingualism studies and points to future possible directions. It promises to be the standard reference guide to research on bilingualism.