sesquilingual

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

sesqui- +‎ -lingual

Adjective[edit]

sesquilingual (not comparable) (rare)

  1. Pertaining to one language, plus a second in a limited capacity, degree, or content.
    • 1976 Herbert Pilch, Empirical Linguistics, Munich: Francke, 1976, p. 152
      Typically, it is believed that this sesquilingual discourse is due to the absence of suitable terms in the inferior language.
    • 2007 Hildegard L.C. Tristram, "On the 'Celticity' of Irish Newspapers - A Research Report," in The Celtic Languages in Contact: Papers from the Workshop Within the Framework of the XIII International Congress of Celtic Studies, Bonn, 26-27 July 2007, Universitätsverlag Potsdam, 2007
      Ireland's sesquilingual situation is thus the inverse of the 'normal' European situation, where English is the prestige language and the native language of lower prestige.
  2. (of a person) able to communicate fluently in one language, but only to a degree in another
    • 1978 Joseph Yam Ting Woo, "Bilingualism in Hong Kong: The Orient Anglicized," Bilingual Research Journal, Volume 2, 1978 - Issue 2
      Being already sesquilingual, the Hong Kong Chinese are therefore quite receptive to the teaching of another language.
    • 1993 Thomas M. Paikeday, "Who needs IPA?" English Today Vol. 9, Issue 1 (Jan. 1993), pp. 38-42
      'Sesquilingual' is not a mythical animal like the native speaker or foreign learner, but a newfangled term for someone who is good in one language, say English, and only half as...
    • 2004 Bill Sherk, 500 Years of New Words, Dundam, 2004, p. 187.
      The author of this dictionary coined the term sesquilingual in 1975 to describe people who know one language and part of another, a term that probably applies to the majority of Canadians, who know English and a smattering of French, or vice versa.

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