Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Measures of Bilinguality

I think that I agree with Hamers and Blanc's idea that we should try to maintain a multidimensional view of bilingualism and bilinguality, even when trying to establish criteria to determine competencies that lead to someone being considered bilingual or not. Too often linguistic competence alone is chosen (by the lay-person) as the only criteria. Psychological states and socio-linguistic aspects should also be considered to gain a more holistic perspective.
I know that my own language performance in my L2 is quite often affected by my mood, or the environment I find myself in, or the task I am to perform. I believe that each bilingual person has their own set of behaviors, specific to their situation, culture and languages. My question is that in a measure of bilinguality, how do you account for the 7 measures proposed by Hamers and Blanc in a balanced way, maintaining validity (are we testing what we really want to test), and consistency/reliability over populations of individuals who all have varying and unique needs? In simple terms, how do you make a test that fits each and every bilingual, when cultures and languages and individuals have so many differences?
What does everyone think?

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