Multilingualism and the Digital Media

Hampel, Regine (2024). Multilingualism and the Digital Media. In: Chapelle, Carol ed. Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley (In Press).



This entry focuses on how the new media have impacted on multilingualism. It starts by looking at the importance of being able to use more than one language in today’s globalized age, where connections are ever more important and border crossings take place all the time – physically and metaphorically. After examining various ways to describe the use of different languages by a person or a group of people, the term ‘multilingualism’ will be suggested, while also drawing attention to other concepts such as multimodality and multiliteracies. The concept of mediation is used to investigate the relationship between the media and multilingualism more generally as well as to explore more specifically the growing use of digital media, including social media. This shows how multilingual practices have been changing in the context of the growth of digital information and communication tools. While on the one hand these tools are contributing to the rise of English, on the other hand they give learners access to other languages by allowing them to interact with speakers of these languages across borders, thus supporting the spread of multilingualism. The entry also illustrates the use of the digital media for fostering the development of multilingualism in more formal language learning and teaching contexts.

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