Social Psychology of Bilingualism
ByLuis A. Vega
Pages 14

This chapter aims to use a more integrative approach, based primarily on the use of social identity theory and social categorization theory. It focuses on humans negotiate language, and bilingualism in particular, from a social psychology perspective. In social psychology changing norms can bring about attitude change, from negative to positive. From an instrumental perspective, people should have a positive attitude about bilingualism, adding to the repertoire of human potential, increasing communication, and expanding access to the human mind, economic benefit, and emotional expansion. Bilingualism has benefits in the Us-versus-Them tribal dichotomy, where loyalty to the in-group is maintained, while interaction with the out-group is increased. Practical or objective considerations can influence bilingualism. As a tool of social influence, language use in the form of bilingualism is assumed to be socially valued. Language is more likely to be used as a marker of in-group/out-group identification with real-life consequences.