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The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, 2nd Edition by William C. Ritchie, Tej K. Bhatia

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Bilingualism/Multilingualism in the Middle East and North Africa: A Focus on Cross-National and Diglossic Bilingualism/Multilingualism

JUDITH ROSENHOUSE

Introduction

Bilingualism and Multilingualism, the Middle East and North Africa

Bilingualism and multilingualism are frequent, usual, and normal states of numerous populations all over the world, with or without formal teaching. This includes the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (Crystal 1997; Nettle and Romaine 2000). Studies of bilinguals’ linguistic skills and theories of their cognitive qualities in comparison with monolinguals in the region began in the early twentieth century (Aronin and Hufeisen 2009). But the current approach to multilingualism research in general is still probably biased by monolingual nationalistic views of the eighteenth–nineteenth centuries’ European ‘one nation–one language’ policy (Auer and Wei 2007: 1–4).

Important contributions to bilingualism research in general have been made by, e.g., Albert and Obler (1978), Paradis (1985), and Grosjean (1989). Towards the end of the twentieth century gradual increase of trilingualism and multilingualism studies (distinct from bilingualism) is noticeable (De Angelis and Dewaele 2009; Franceschini 2009), though they are not easily separated (Kemp 2009).1 Cenoz (2000) mentioned studies of trilingual children and students and looked ‘beyond bilingualism’ (Cenoz 2001). Tokuhama-Espinosa (2001) already discusses raising multilingual children. Noteworthy in ...

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