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Dr Anwei Feng School of Education, Durham University Essential Concepts for Researching Bilingualism.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Anwei Feng School of Education, Durham University Essential Concepts for Researching Bilingualism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Anwei Feng School of Education, Durham University Essential Concepts for Researching Bilingualism and Bilingual Education

2 Two Questions  Why is it important to study bilingualism and bilingual education?  What do we need to know to study the issues related to bilingualism and bilingual education?

3 Common (Mis)perceptions  Issues related to bilingualism and bilingual education are perhaps basically linguistic issues. So let’s leave them to the ‘language people’ or linguists.  Concepts related to the notions are easy and only relevant to minority groups.

4 Why Important? Activity 1 – Discuss whether and, if yes, why it is important to study bilingualism and bilingual education and what counter-arguments there are. ImportanceCounter Arguments Response to globalisation Intercultural communication Minority education Language provision policies FL education Personal needs For nation-building For social stability and racial harmony etc. Cause of underachievement Potential catalyst for Quebec-style separationism Detrimental to cognitive development High cost Split personality Identity and emotional problems Etc.

5 What do we need to know? A revisit to WHY question tells us research into these issues is interdisciplinary.  SLA for sure  Psychology (bilingualism and emotions)  Sociology (language and society)  Politics (language and politics)  Cultural studies (intercultural communication)

6 An Example If you wish to discuss the case of CMI versus EMI schools in Hong Kong, what literature will you need to review in order to gain a relatively full view of the phenomenon? Language and politics Language and identity Mother tongue education and empowerment Effectiveness of each model  Emersion: total or partial  Strong form or weak form Bilingualism and intelligence Bilingualism and economic development Globalisation and language policy

7 Another Example If you wish to discuss Putonghua education in Hong Kong schools, what literature will you need to review in order to gain a relatively full view of the phenomenon ? Language and national identity Bilingualism and economic development Bilingualism, biculturalism and/or interculturalism Language and power Effectiveness of Putonghua education  A weak form  A strong form

8 How complex concepts can be? Activity 2 – What is “bilingualism”? Write a simple definition or key words to “bilingualism”

9 Bilingualism 1 Common definition - The use of two languages by individuals ‘use’ can range from native speaker competence to incipient ability to survive with a foreign/second language ‘two’ is not accurate as the term is used also to refer to tri- or multi-. ‘language’ may include formal language, variety of language, or even dialect ‘individual’ is not accurate as the term is often used to refer to societal phenomena

10 Bilingualism 2 If they are difficult to define, can we describe BILINGUALISM?  (Baker’s (2001) dimensions, p.3) Ability (how proficient – incipient  receptive  productive  native-like) Age (simultaneous, sequential, late ) Balanced (equally fluent in two) Development (Additive – Subtractive; Ascendant – Recessive) Contexts (Home, school, etc.) Circumstantial (forced to learn for survival because of circumstances) or Elective (choose to learn to add another language competence)

11 Societal Bilingualism Diglossia – Situation where two languages, or varieties of a language (High-variety Vs Low- variety) are used for different purposes in a society (Fishman, 1972; Baker, 2001) High variety (language or dialect) – Often used in formal domains Low variety (language or dialect) – Used in informal domains *The term is useful for analysis of language use in multilingual situations and power relationship between HV users and LV users

12 Diglossia and Bilingualism Four language situations Diglossia + - Individual bilingualism + - Diglossia and bilingualism Bilingualism without diglossia Diglossia without bilingualism Neither bilingualism nor diglossia (a political fiction)

13 Diglossia with bilingualism  Diglossia with bilingualism: exists and is stable if other factors support  Examples?  Most cities in China (H - Putonghua; L - Local dialect or language)  In London (H – RP English; L – Cogney or any other ethnic minority language)  In Singapore (H – English; L – ethnic minority language?)  In Hong Kong?  Etc.

14 Diglossia without bilingualism  Diglossia without bilingualism  Examples:  Switzerland (German, French, Italian, Romansch speech communities in different area)  India (power group speak English, masses their own languages)

15 Bilingualism without diglossia  Bilingualism without diglossia (unstable and likely to lead to creolisation?):  Examples:  Wales (bilinguals use either Welsh or English in any domain)  In Ireland (same situation)  Some places in North America  Hong Kong?

16 Neither/Nor  Neither/nor: monolingual states – political fiction?  Examples:  Cuba (forced monolingual state by exterminating minority languages)  The Dominican Republic (forced?)  Natural ones (non-existent?)

17 Limitations  Difficult to categorise some communities into the ‘cells’ (Boyd and Latomaa, 1999)  Multilingual societies/states (i.e. politically unified): using more than one official language  Bilingualism without diglossia may not be unstable.  Stability of diglossia with bilingualism may be affected by increasing communication with otherness.

18 Bilingual Education  Write several words to show your working definition of the term.  Write a few examples of bilingual education according to your definition

19 Are they defined as bilingual education?  A classroom with both local students and students from other countries using the local language as MoI?  A classroom dominated by minority students but taught in the majority language?  A classroom dominated by students of the majority group but taught in a foreign language?  A classroom mainly taught in the native language with a second/foreign language as a school subject?

20 Are they defined as bilingual education?  A classroom taught simultaneously by two teachers in two different languages?  A classroom taught in a foreign language but gradually changed to be taught in a local majority language?  Etc.

21 Introductory Texts  C. Baker (2006) Foundations …  J. Cummins (2000) Language, power, and pedagogy. …  J. Edwards (1994) Multilingualism …  A. Feng (2007) Bilingual education in China …  A, Pavlenco & A. Blackledge (2004) Negotiation of identity …  A, Pavlenco (2006) Bilingual minds …

22 Durham Module Bilingualism and Bilingual Education Thanks


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