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Types of multilingualism explored in the Transylvanian school context
Studies concerning multilingualism are abundant and multilingualism gains more and more attention from linguists, politicians, sociologists and psychologists. Despite the spread of mul-tilingualism, scholarly research in the Eastern-European multilingual context has just recently started to develop.
The present research aims at providing insight into a specific multilingual context: the Tran-sylvanian autochthonous minority situation. The paper proposes an exploration of the litera-ture on the term multilingualism and its relations to bilingualism research. Moreover, it will also consider the lay-people’s “definitions” or understanding of the term. The study highlights three overlapping questions around multilingualism: a) how is multilingualism perceived by foreign language learners (students); b) what are the educational stakeholders’ (teachers and principals) views on multilingualism; and finally c) what types of multilingualism do schools promote?
In order to answer the questions above, research was conducted in the Transylvanian school context. Six high schools were contacted where interviews were carried out with students, teachers and the school principals. The interviews show that ‘elite’ multilingualism is pre-ferred, being almost equated with English language knowledge or learning. However, accord-ing to different aims in the learners’ future career, several types of multilingualism have been named. So as to say, for learners who want to stay in the country and start working as blue-collar workers, multilingualism in the mother tongue and the majority language will suffice.
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