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If languages influence the way we think, do bilinguals think differently in their respective languages? And if languages do not affect thought, why do bilinguals often perceive such influence? For many years these questions remained unanswered because the research on language and thought had focused solely on the monolingual mind. Bilinguals were either excluded from this research as 'unusual' or 'messy' subjects, or treated as representative speakers of their first languages. Only recently did bi- and multilinguals become research participants in their own right. Pavlenko considers the socio-political circumstances that led to the monolingual status quo and shows how the invisibility of bilingual participants compromised the validity and reliability of findings in the study of language and cognition. She then shifts attention to the bilingual turn in the field and examines its contributions to the understanding of the human mind.Read more
- The book merges psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic approaches and will appeal to readers from a variety of backgrounds
- Every chapter is supplemented with tables that summarize the key studies in the area, which is useful for readers unfamiliar with the research, providing a cheat-sheet with information on studies that are not easily accessible
- Discussion of scholarly research is interweaved with case studies of famous bi- and multilinguals, such as Nabokov and Chagall; these studies link academic research to everyday life, making the book more lively and accessible
Reviews & endorsements
“A very thoughtful examination not only of bilingualism but of the nature and uses of language generally. It deals with deep issues, but does so with notable clarity.”
--Jerome Bruner, University Professor Emeritus, NYU
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‘This is a wonderful book which brings critical insights deriving from a bilingual perspective to bear on linguistic theory in general. While one may disagree with Pavlenko’s complete rejection of semantic universals, the book will surely have a galvanizing effect on the study of language and cognition, and many will see it, I expect, as a milestone in the history of linguistics.’
--Anna Wierzbicka, Australian National University
‘Aneta Pavlenko addresses the intriguing relationship between language and thought in bi- and multilinguals in a unique, comprehensive and refreshing manner. Her beautifully written and lively work deserves to become a milestone in the field.’
--François Grosjean, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
27th Mar 2015 by Dewaele
This book is a masterpiece. The book relies on exemplary scholarship, is strikingly original, is based on brilliant cross-disciplinary insights, relies on solid empirical findings. As such it is of major conceptual significance combined with highly enjoyable clarity and wit. This is a book by a brilliant, highly confident and mature researcher. Aneta Pavlenko is the undisputed expert in the field of bilingual cognition. She takes strong critical stances, criticizing the monolingual bias in research, attacking some of the incorrect interpretations and the misunderstandings surrounding the controversial Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. By going back to the sources of this hypothesis, she manages to clear away the confusing rubble that was heaped onto it and she demonstrates how some of the original ideas are still relevant for researchers today. She highlights some of the socio-political-ideological circumstances that perpetuated myths about bilingualism and the mind. She provides an excellent overview of the wide area of current research on bilingual cognition, relying on fresh evidence from psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, applied linguistics, visual arts as well as autobiographical literature by bilingual authors. Her exploration of affect and emotion in multilinguals’ various languages blends perfectly in this work on bilingual cognition. She combines etic and emic perspectives to perfection. I have never enjoyed an academic book as much as this one. Aneta Pavlenko is a true academic virtuoso. The scholarship is amazing, and yet the book reads like a novel, full of unexpected twists and surprises. It had me laugh out loud several times, especially when she confronted dubious claims by famous researchers. I totally agree with François Grosjean’s comment on the back cover, saying that the book is unique, comprehensive and refreshing. Just like him, I am convinced that this book is a milestone in the field.
Review was not posted due to profanity×
- Date Published: April 2014
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521716567
- length: 400 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.53kg
- contains: 14 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and the bilingual turn in the study of language and cognition
2. Material worlds: linguistic categorization of the 'kaleidoscopic flux of impressions'
3. Multidimensional worlds: number, time, and space as linguistic systems of symbolic relationships
4. Dynamic worlds: linguistic construal of motion events
5. Narrative worlds: locating ourselves in storylines
6. Discursive worlds: inner speech, interpretive frames, and the accomplishment of intersubjectivity
7. Emotional worlds: emotion categorization, affective processing, and ascription of significance
8. The bilingual mind and what it tells us about language and cognition: some renegade thoughts.
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