Living Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Research and Practice in Heritage Language Education

Part of the series Springer International Handbooks of Education pp 1-19

Date: Latest Version

Plurilingualism: Vision, Conceptualization, and Practices

  • Enrica PiccardoAffiliated withOISE – University of TorontoUniversité Grenoble-Alpes FRANCE Email author 


In response to increased mobility and the consequent multiplication of cultural and linguistic diversity, a new paradigm is emerging in language education and its conceptualization that stresses interconnection, interdependence, and a synergic vision. The notion of plurilingualism is a cornerstone of such a paradigm. In this paper, plurilingualism is presented and analyzed by highlighting its tenets, implications, and possible applications in education. The paper aims to investigate the paradigm shift represented by plurilingualism by explaining the historical roots of the plurilingual vision and by considering the value and potential of such a vision through different conceptual lenses. It explains how this notion has the potential to provide the foundation for a conceptual framework in language education and beyond.

The paper operates on two levels. The first part, on vision and conceptualization, moves from the roots of the idea of coexistence and the synergic interaction of linguistic and cultural diversity to highlighting the conceptual and theoretical development that prepared the ground for thinking in terms of linguistic plurality. The second section addresses the potential of plurilingualism for language education and discusses some of the emerging practices and their implications in reshaping the nature of classroom realities.


Plurilingualism Multilingualism Complexity theories CEFR Plurilanguaging