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LANE 424 Seminar in Linguistics. Course Description This course provides an overview of the study of bilingualism both as an individual and a social phenomenon.

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Presentation on theme: "LANE 424 Seminar in Linguistics. Course Description This course provides an overview of the study of bilingualism both as an individual and a social phenomenon."— Presentation transcript:

1 LANE 424 Seminar in Linguistics

2 Course Description This course provides an overview of the study of bilingualism both as an individual and a social phenomenon. It gives an overview of the most relevant themes of bilingualism. The course encourages students to draw on their own experiences (as bilinguals) to achieve a better understanding of the issues discussed.

3 Course content Bilingualism: Definitions and dimensions The Measurement of bilingualism Endangered Languages: Language planning Languages in society The early development of bilingualism The later development of bilingualism

4 Course objectives Upon completion of this course, students should demonstrate: An understanding of the different dimensions and types of bilingualism. An understanding of why and how bilingualism is measured individually and in the society. An understanding of the different types of language contact situations (e.g. Language shift/maintenance) and their potential outcomes and impact on language development and use by the individual and the society. The ability to analyse and discuss different factors (political, social, demographic, cultural, cognitive and linguistic) influencing situations of language contact. An awareness of various aspects of and routes to early and late development of bilingualism.

5 Prescribed textbook Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of Bilingual Education And Bilingualism. 4 th Edition Chapters 1-6

6 Classifying Bilinguals Bilinguals are classified on the basis of a number of dimensions, including: a. Age (simultaneous/sequential/late) b. Ability (incipient/receptive/productive) c. Balance between to languages in terms of use d. Language Development (ascendant: the second language is developing; recessive: the first language is declining) Contexts of language use (home/work/public gathering/school/college).

7 Types of bilinguals simultaneous bilingual children learn two languages at birth, aka infant bilingualism or ‘bilingual first language acquisition.’ Infants who are exposed to two languages from birth will become simultaneous bilinguals. consecutive/sequential bilingual children learn a second language after about three years of age. Learning one language after already established a first language. This is the situation for all those who become bilingual as adults, as well as for many who became bilingual earlier in life. incipient bilingual An individual at the early stages of bilingualism where one language is not fully developed. – have one well-developed language – other is in the early stages of development:

8 Types of bilinguals ascendant bilingual the second language is developing: The speaker whose ability to function in a second language increases with its use is in recessive bilingualism one language is decreasing: An individual who begins to feel some difficulty in either understanding or expressing him or herself with ease, due to lack of use. endogenous communities more than one language used on an everyday basis exogenous communities absence of a second language Passive/receptive bilingual bilinguals with a receptive ability, i.e. understanding or reading: An individual who understands a second language, in either its spoken or written form, or both, but does not necessarily speak or write it.

9 Types of bilinguals additive bilingual a person learns a second language at no cost to their first language: An individual whose two languages combine in a complementary and enriching fashion. subtractive bilingual the first language is being replaced by the second language: An individual whose second language is acquired at the expense of the first language. elective bilingual – choose to learn a language, e.g. in a classroom – typically come from majority language groups – learn second language without losing first circumstantial bilingualism – learn another language to function effectively because of circumstances, i.e. immigrants. – first language insufficient to meet their educational, political, and employment requirements and the communicative needs of the majority language society – first language in danger of being replaced by second

10 Types of bilinguals minimal bilingualism people with minimal competence in a second language are also considered bilinguals: An individual with only a few words and phrases in a second language. maximal bilingualism only people with “native-like control of two or more languages” are considered bilinguals. Semilingual An individual with insufficient knowledge of either language – deficiencies in bilinguals when compared with monolinguals – small vocabulary and incorrect grammar – consciously thinking about language production – stilted and uncreative with each language – finding it difficult to think and express emotions in either language

11 Types of bilinguals balanced bilingual someone equally fluent in two languages across various contexts Early bilingual An individual who has acquired two languages early in childhood Functional bilingual An individual who can operate in two languages with or without full fluency for the task in hand. Late bilingual An individual who has become a bilingual later than childhood.

12 Language ability Language Ability is often used as an umbrella term. language ability is distinct from language achievement. There are four basic language abilities: listening, speaking, reading and writing. These abilities fit into two dimensions: receptive and productive; oracy and literacy.

13 Language ability LiteracyOracySkills ReadingListeningReceptive WritingSpeakingProductive

14 An individual's use of bilingualism Language Targets: Family; colleagues; friends; teachers Language Domains: Shopping; media; cinema; theatre; ICT

15 :Chapter 2 The measurement of bilingualism Why measuring bilinguals? For what purposes?  Distribution  Selection  Summative  Formative

16 Measuring bilinguals The assessment of bilinguals in school: 2 methods:  (1) Language proficiency tests: (a) Norm referenced test NRT: Compare one person with others (e.g. with a national or regional average). Example: IQ test (b) Criterion referenced test CRT: measure how well a person has learned a specific body of knowledge and skills. What a student can and cannot do. Advantages of CRTs? point of comparison providing direct feedback into teachers decisions; locating children needing support; …….

17 Measuring bilinguals (2) Self-rating on proficiency (four language abilities) English ? Arabic? How well do you speak.. Yes - fluently Yes - fairly well Yes - some Yes - just a little No - not now

18 Measuring bilinguals Limitations/problems in measuring bilinguals:  E.g. Ambiguity  context  social desirability  …..

19 Measuring bilinguals Communicative language testing: Measuring a person's use of language in authentic situations (real communicative situations; e.g. in a shop, at home, at work; …) Testing communicative competence (e.g. IELTS; p. 29)

20 Measuring bilinguals Measurement of bilinguals in research: Language background scales: Who speaks what language to whom and when? (p. 32) Measures of language balance and dominance (p. 34): Seeks to measure the language strength of a bilingual person. How? E.g. A word association task.

21 Measuring bilinguals Language censuses: See for example US census language question; “Does this person speak a language other than English at home?” “How does this person speak English? (Very well, Well, Not well, Not at all)” Conclusion See key point in Chapter 2 (p. 40)


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