Multilinguals are ...? - Book reviews

Reviews of Cruz-Ferreira, M. (2010). Multilinguals are ...? London/Colombo: Battlebridge 

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Endorsement – Professor David Crystal
Author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.
This is a breath of fresh air in a field which desperately needs ventilation. It blows away the myths and fantasies about multilingualism, and puts in their place a perspective of sound common sense, grounded in the daily experience of living a life in which several languages form a natural part. For anyone who has ever been uncertain about multilingualism, worried about it, or misrepresented it, this lively and accessible overview is the perfect reality check.

Endorsement – Professor Jeff MacSwan
Applied Linguistics, Arizona State University.
Madalena Cruz-Ferreira has crafted a down-to-earth, fun, accessible, and highly informed treatise on multilingualism. The book addresses a wide range of misconceptions about multilingualism in a humorous and entertaining way, and should be required reading for teachers, professionals, and the rest of us who work closely with groups and individuals who use multiple languages!

A Cuban in London
Excerpt: “Madalena's book provided answers to many of the questions I had asked myself many times [...] it doesn't matter whether you’re monolingual or multilingual, go and buy this book. In addition, all profits from the sale of the book go to Yuti (meaning ‘unity’), a trilingual children’s magazine in Sinhala, Tamil and English. This publication is distributed, free of charge, to Sri Lankan children, ages eight to fourteen, three times a year.”
Read the full review here.

Stacy J. Feldstein – TESL-EJ (The Electronic Journal for English as a Second/Foreign Language)
Excerpt: “Educators, linguists, parents and anyone interested in language acquisition will benefit from the common-sense tenets of multilingualism presented in this entertaining and insightful work.
Read the full review here.

Elizabeth Corah-Rumschlag – JLE (Journal of Latinos and Education)
Excerpt: In Multilinguals are …?, Cruz-Ferreira adeptly makes the point that multilinguals should not be categorized as good or bad, fashionable or unfashionable, or intelligent or mentally deficient, simply by virtue of the languages they use to communicate. The author also dismisses the notion of a multilingual as a novelty or fad, pointing to the fact that multilingualism has been firmly entrenched in many parts of the world for a very long time. With these things in mind, she maintains, common misconceptions of multilinguals should be supplanted by a deeper understanding, which permits these individuals to be recognized, quite simply, as fellow human beings. Multilinguals draw upon more than one language to understand and be understood because their lives have led them down that particular path.
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Volfango Rizzi – TES (The Times Educational Supplement)
Excerpt: “A highly recommended book for anyone who may have some interest in understanding more on multilingualism, and monolingualism too.

Philip Ball – ELT Journal
Excerpt: “Madalena Cruz-Ferreira has written an entertaining and insightful book on this very theme. The title Multilinguals are …? neatly encapsulates her chief conceit, in which the narrative weight of the book inclines more towards the human aspect of the phenomenon and less to the concept of multilingualism itself.
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Cassie D. Leymarie – International Multilingual Research Journal
Excerpt: Multilinguals are ...? deconstructs the paradoxical discourse surrounding multilingualism in a blunt and tongue-in-cheek fashion. [Cruz-Ferreira] provides a thoughtfully scrutinous, yet widely accessible, conversation achieving the intended goal of providing clarity about the nature of being multilingual. [...] To me, this book offered a quick and refreshing way to remember that our field is dealing with people, not just languages in isolation.”
Read the full review here.

Book’s table of contents

      Multilinguals are ...?
  1. It’s a multilingual world, but multilinguals are the odd ones out
  2. Multilinguals must have balanced languages, but one of them must be dominant
  3. Multilinguals must develop one main language, but that won’t let them develop other languages
  4. Multilinguals have no mother tongue, because they are not native speakers of any language
  5. Multilinguals can learn new languages easily, but only in childhood
  6. Multilingual competence means erasing signs of multilingualism from the speech of multilinguals
  7. Multilinguals don’t have many languages, they have many half-languages
  8. Becoming multilingual is both a drain and a strain on your brain
  9. Growing up multilingual is no problem, provided you seek clinical assistance
  10. In order to raise multilingual children, you must speak to them in only one language
  11. Multilingualism should be encouraged, but only in languages that matter
  12. Multilinguals are multilinguals because they are gifted for languages
  13. Multilingualism is a boon, but also a bane, or vice versa
    What are we talking about, really??



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