LSA 201: Bilingualism

Devyani Sharma | session 2 | MW 10:30 – 12:15, 155 Donner Lab

Bilingualism, or contact between two linguistic systems, is both individual and social: in the individual, grammar interaction can reveal the nature of mental representations and cognitive processes; in society, mixed codes serve to embody and mediate complex social roles and stances. This course investigates both sides of bilingualism. In the individual dimension, we will explore language transfer and other cognitive effects in bilingual speech, formal models of grammar interaction, constraints on code-switching, and patterns in acquisition and attrition. In the social dimension, we will examine indexical functions of mixed codes, sociolinguistic repertoires, and policy debates. Throughout the course we will consider the individual/social interface: how does an individual grammar adjust to complex input from the social environment? And how do social norms come to be fixed by individual behavior? In the process, students will develop an awareness of the relationship between distinct research goals, data collection techniques (elicited, naturalistic, corpora), and analytic methods (implicational scaling, descriptive statistics, quantitative and qualitative analysis) in the study of individual and societal bilingualism.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

On reserve at Graduate Services, 208 Doe Library: Tej K. Bhatia and William C. Ritchie (Eds.), The Handbook of Bilingualism, Suzanne Romaine, Bilingualism, 2nd ed., Pieter Muysken, Bilingual Speech: A Typology of Code-mixing, Josiane Hamers and Michel H. A. Blanc, Bilinguality and Bilingualism, 2nd ed., and Don Winford, An Introduction to Contact Linguistics.

Prerequisites: This course requires a basic (introductory level) familiarity with syntax, semantics, language acquisition, and/or sociolinguistics.

Areas of linguistics: Sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology; Syntax, semantics, and morphology

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