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3. Multilingualism, myth, and controversies

3. Multilingualism, myth, and controversies  

John C. Maher

in Multilingualism: A Very Short Introduction

Print Publication Year: 
May 2017
Published Online: 
May 2017
eISBN: 
9780191792465
DOI: 
10.1093/actrade/9780198724995.003.0003
Item type: 
chapter
ISBN: 
9780198724995
3. Multilingualism, myth, and controversies Folk linguistics Society has conventions for the use of language, like ‘speak properly’ and ‘don’t interrupt when somebody’s talking’. There are recurrent ideas and superstitions surrounding language, like ‘French is logical, Italian is beautiful, Japanese is vague’ or ‘Children don’t speak properly any more’. There is also misunderstanding about language diversity in society. Linguists challenge these assumptions, ‘Well, it’s not quite like that’. Analysing people’s beliefs about language, or ‘folk linguistics’, is important for education and for our common understanding about how language works. One of the most enduring myths is the Tower of Babel

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