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What Is Bilingualism and How Do People Communicate Bilingually?

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What is Bilingualism and how do people communicate bilingually?

A critical analysis of the topic in the book “Academic Writing: Making the transition” by Steve Marshall.

The book has a number of definitions for the term Bilingual. Edwards (1994), states that virtually all people were bilingual in nature. He stated that anyone who can communicate few words of another language is bilingual. This is to say that for example, if someone went on holiday to another country and could exchange a simple greeting in the foreign language, then he would be considered to be bilingual. The writer of the article states that the definition by Edwards is far from what most people consider to be bilingual because most people define bilingualism as the ability to fluently speak two languages. The problem with the Marshall’s statement is that he has not explained how he found out that most people define Bilingualism to be the ability to speak two languages fluently. He simply assumes this without giving conclusive evidence. It would have been better if he would have conducted a research or had the opinions of people on what they considered to be bilingual and would conclude based on the response by the people. Edwards’s definition is also ambiguous because the assumption that simply speaking a word of a foreign language makes one bilingual makes almost all people of the world bilingual because most people know few words of a foreign language and this would mean that everyone is bilingual.

The definition by Bloomfield’s (1933) that being bilingual requires “native-like control of two Languages” is confusing to a reader because a reader might not immediately understand what native-like control of a language is. Therefore the intended message to be passed on to the reader is lost. The writer would have better used words and phrasings that are easy to understand by a…...

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