Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

Research Perspectives on Bilingualism and Bilingual Education

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_250


This chapter outlines various research perspectives on bilingualism and bilingual education. Three broad perspectives within this interdisciplinary area are identified: linguistic, psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic. The chapter focuses on theoretical questions and methodological approaches within each of the three broad perspectives, highlighting the differences and links across each.

Early Developments

Bilingualism and bilingual education became a major focus of scientific research only in the last century, especially since the 1970s. Two disciplines that have influenced much of the research on bilingualism and bilingual education are linguistics and psychology. The research agenda of much of modern linguistics was defined by Chomsky ( 1986) as consisting of three basic questions:
  1. 1.

    What constitutes knowledge of language?

  2. 2.

    How is knowledge of language acquired?

  3. 3.

    How is knowledge of language put to use?

For bilingualism research, these questions can be...


Bilingual Education Bilingual Child Linguistic Resource Language Choice Linguistic Minority 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Wei
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, Communication & Language SciencesUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneUK