bi·​lin·​gual·​ism (ˌ)bī-ˈliŋ-gwə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce bilingualism (audio)
: the ability to speak two languages
: the frequent use (as by a community) of two languages
: the political or institutional recognition of two languages

Examples of bilingualism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Merel Keijzer, a linguist at the University of Groningen who studies bilingualism, surveyed a group of Dutch speakers who emigrated as adults to Australia. Madeleine Schwartz Soneela Nankani Tanya Pérez Brian St. Pierre, New York Times, 14 May 2024 Students engage in a variety of activities that promote bilingualism and biliteracy, as well as sociocultural competency. Fredlyn Pierre Louis, NBC News, 30 Apr. 2024 But bilingualism is reworking the Tsimane' tricolor rainbow, researchers recently reported in Psychological Science—offering a rare, real-time glimpse into how learning a second language can change how people think about abstract concepts and fuel language evolution. Elise Cutts, Scientific American, 21 Sep. 2020 My own parents did not teach me Spanish because a teacher had told them, wildly, that bilingualism negatively affects cognitive learning. Marisa Tirado, Vogue, 29 Sep. 2023 An unusual piñata, and a lesson on fatherhood Spanglish is often described in the context of bilingualism. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023 Getting all Canadians on board with bilingualism, however, was easier said than done. Sam Roberts,, 1 Sep. 2023 There is, says Chung-Fat-Yim, some connection between bilingualism and a theory of mind — the ability to attribute mental states to other people. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 5 May 2021 Now, educators are more aware of the value of bilingualism. Sushma Subramanian, Discover Magazine, 19 Nov. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bilingualism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bilingualism was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near bilingualism

Cite this Entry

“Bilingualism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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