Next CLLEAR talk: Findings from GECO: The Ghent Eye-tracking Corpus of Monolinguals and Bilinguals Reading an Entire Novel

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) talk will take place on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 at 4:30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The talk is entitled “Findings from GECO: The Ghent Eye-tracking Corpus of Monolinguals and Bilinguals Reading an Entire Novel” …

Next CLLEAR seminar: Methodological considerations in measuring ambiguous relative clause attachment strategies in bilinguals

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Monday 16th April 2018 at 15:30 in Room 1011, Building 67, Highfield Campus. The talk is entitled “Methodological considerations in measuring ambiguous relative clause attachment strategies in bilinguals” and will be delivered by Elena Valenzuela from the University of Ottawa. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
It has been argued that monolinguals and bilinguals differ in how they resolve ambiguities in relative clause attachment. Cuetos and Mitchell (1988) first noted that sentences as in (1) and (2), which contain a complex NP of the type “NP of NP” followed by a relative clause (RC), are parsed differently depending on the language:
(1) She kissed the brother(NP1) of the poet(NP2) that was on the balcony.
(2) Elle a embrassé le frère(NP1) du poète(NP2) qui était sur la balcon.
In English (1), the poet is on the balcony whereas in the same sentence in French (2), it is the brother who is on the balcony. Languages can be grouped according to the parsing strategy for monolinguals: high attachment (Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, etc.) and low attachment (English, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Romanian, etc.).

Dussias and Sagarra (2007) found that language dominance was the Spanish-dominant bilinguals with limited exposure to English preferred high attachment in both languages, while bilinguals with extensive exposure to English preferred low attachment in both English and Spanish. Valenzuela et al. (2015) examined the parsing strategies of bilinguals in code-switched sentences and also found that language dominance and exposure played the greatest role for parsing. However, in these previous studies, participants were all living in an English environment at the time of testing which may have influenced so-called language dominance. In our study we test French/English bilinguals living their dominant language environment.
This research examines parsing strategies in monolingual and code-switched sentences to address the following research questions:
i. Does language dominance play a role in parsing strategies?
ii. Does direction of the language code-switch affect processing?
iii. Does the direction of the language code-switch affect processing differently based on individual’s language dominance?

Two groups of bilinguals: French/English living in English dominant environment (n=15) and French/English living in French dominant environment (n=14) were tested on their parsing strategies of French, English, and French/English code-switched ambiguous relative clauses. Participants were given two experimental tasks: Sentence Judgment Task and Sentence Completion Task. Results show that across the board low attachment was preferred regardless of the language environment and language dominance of the participant. This may suggest that, as in Dussias and Sagarra (2007), language exposure plays an important role. However, this may also be due to the prolonged language contact situation in Canada resulting in an emerging dialect. Results will be discussed in terms of language dominance, frequency of language usage, and appropriateness of the methodology used.

Next CLLEAR seminar: Supporting Heritage Language Development

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Friday 9th March 2018 at 16:00 in Lecture Theatre B, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Supporting Heritage Language Development and will be delivered by Silvina Montrul from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All welcome for the seminar and discussion!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Defined by their transmission across a generation, heritage languages are spoken by the bilingual children of immigrant parents. There is little consensus in the U.S. today about the language education of English Language Learners (ELLs) who I refer to as heritage language speakers: while some call for the early teaching of English, others insist that this can have negative repercussions for the full development and maintenance of the heritage language. Similar concerns affect heritage speakers in other parts of the globe. In this talk, I challenge widely held ideas about native language proficiency: namely, that once acquired early in childhood, a language is stable, especially in adults. I argue instead that native language proficiency can be shaped by the environment, and this is particularly true for U.S. bilinguals. In contrast to monolingual native speakers, the language mastery of heritage speakers by early adulthood is often significantly different from that of both their immigrant parents and native speakers in the home country. Heritage speakers, like all speakers, are born with the ability to learn one or more languages fully and indeed retain native ability in selected grammatical areas due to their early exposure to the language, when compare to second language learners who start acquisition of the second language much later, for example. I will show how insufficient use of the language during late childhood and adolescence can profoundly affect specific aspects of their command of grammar, interrupting the full development of the language and turning their native language into a second language. I will conclude with suggestions for supporting heritage language development during the language learning period.

Upcoming Modern Languages/CLLEAR seminars

CLLEAR

Modern Languages and the Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) are pleased to be hosting a visit from Dr. Elisabet Pladevall Baluster from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in July, who will be offering two seminars focusing on bilingualism and on CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). The first seminar will take place on Tuesday 26th July at 4pm (65/1095) and is entitled “L1 Use and Focus on Form in a co-taught CLIL programme”. The second seminar will take place on Thursday 28th July at 4pm (65/1097) and is entitled “Developmental asynchrony in the acquisition of subject properties in child L2 English and Spanish”. Read more…

Research shows bilinguals can perceive the world in different ways

The Guardian has reported on new research that shows that people who are bilingual are able to view the world differently depending on the language they are using. According to the research by academics at Lancaster University, alternating between two languages provides a ‘cognitive boost’ and pushes the brain to be more flexible.

To read the article in full, visit the Guardian website.

Next CLLEAR seminar: “Sourcing (some) differences in heritage language bilingualism and why different is NOT deviant NOR incomplete”

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 28 January 2015 from 5:00-7:00pm in Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “Sourcing (some) differences in heritage language bilingualism and why different is NOT deviant NOR incomplete” and will be delivered by Professor Jason Rothman from the University of Reading and University of Tromsoe. All welcome! Read more…