Small but perfectly formed

The Neurolinguistics of Bilingualism

November 26, 1999

Franco Fabbro addresses the cerebral organisation of language in bilingual individuals. So why are bilinguals important to neuro-linguistics? First, since half of the world is bilingual, this is arguably as much the normal state of affairs as monolingualism and second, by studying people who have two quite different languages or who learned them at different ages, we may uncover much about the relationship between cerebral organisation and factors affecting language acquisition.

The book introduces the reader to quite a specialised area but should interest students of psychology and medicine. Where it will be of benefit, however, is for students undertaking language therapy training.

The first ten chapters cover the principles of the neural organisation of language, introducing linguistics, aphasia and memory formation, while the remaining 18 deal with the various specialist areas of neurolinguistics.

Chapters are bite-sized to aid digestion but some are so short that they leave the reader hungry for more (for example, chapters on selective and differential aphasia were just getting into their stride when they ended abruptly). By keeping specialist chapters brief, however, Fabbro touches on all the main aspects of a complex area in a highly accessible style. I could find no serious omissions in a book that currently has no competitors.

Lance Workman is senior lecturer in psychology, University of Glamorgan.

The Neurolinguistics of Bilingualism: An Introduction. First Edition

Author - Franco Fabbro
ISBN - 0 86377 755 4
Publisher - Taylor and Francis
Price - £39.95
Pages - 255

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