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Márta Lesznyák: Bilingualism and Bilingual Education

This study reviews some basic questions of bilingualism and offers a typology of bilingual education. The study begins with the presentation of the difficulties of defining bilingualism. Then the possible classifications of bilingual individuals are described using the following criteria: language skills, the sequence of the acquisition of the two languages and the relation of the two language systems to each other. As bilingual individuals usually live and function in a bilingual environment some issues of social bilingualism such as diglossia, language shift and language maintenance and revival are discussed too. From the point of view of schooling the question of how bilingualism influences cognitive development is of great significance. Research results prove that the presence of two languages alone does not explain differences in cognitive development satisfactorily. However, the development levels of each language may account for advantages or disadvantages in cognitive development. Special attention is paid to Cummins' distinction between Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills and Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency as this theory may be used effectively in deciding which language should be the language of instruction if we would like to foster bilingual children's cognitive abilities. In the last section ten types of bilingual education are described together with their aims and possible outcomes.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 96. Number 3. 217-230. (1996)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Lesznyák Márta, József Attila Tudomány¬egye¬tem Pedagógiai Tanszék, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia