Multilingualism and the media

Authored by: Helen Kelly-Holmes

The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism

Print publication date:  May  2012
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415496476
eBook ISBN: 9780203154427
Adobe ISBN: 9781136578144


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In this chapter, I explore the media as a key site of multilingualism. Given the role that media play in contemporary societies in many parts of the world, they are one of the main means by which individuals may engage with and be exposed to discourses about multilingualism and multilingual practices. As such, media have a major role to play in maintaining or challenging existing language regimes, attitudes and ideologies. I begin by looking at early developments in the field, particularly the evolution of parallel monolingualisms as a type of multilingual practice in the media, with a focus on multilingual media. I then go on to look at some key issues of theory and method, particularly in terms of media texts and mediatized texts and issues of policy and how these have evolved and impacted on multilingualism in the media, especially, although not exclusively, in relation to minority language media. I then go on to look at new research directions in the area of new media practices, which can be seen to have fundamentally altered the relationship between multilingualism and the media. Finally, I look at two contemporary multilingual media texts to illustrate how practices are constantly evolving and to show the extent of possibilities in the new media age.

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