Well, whos a pretty bilingual then?
Well, whos a pretty bilingual then?Jeanine Treffers-Daller
Linguistics Society UWE 4th February 2011
1CUT-THROAT COLIN: Arrrhh! I had a pet parrot once!
SKINT (With a parrot on his shoulder): Oh, really?
CUT-THROAT COLIN: Arr! it used to lay square eggs!
SKINT: Amazin'! Did it ever speak?
CUT-THROAT COLIN: Oh, arrh, - what it usually said were - 'Ouch!'
Parrot treats this remark with silent contempt.
POOP DECK PETE: (To Captain Skint) Does your parrot bite?
SKINT: Oh, no, my parrot definitely doesn't bite!
POOP DECK PETE: Oh, good, (to parrot) Who's a pretty little Polly then? Polly want a cracker? (Reaches out to tickle parrot patronizingly under the chin. The parrot gives him a fierce nip on the fingers)
POOP DECK PETE: (Sucking damaged fingers and leaping about in pain) I thought you said your parrot didn't bite!
SKINT: It doesn't--but that's not my parrot.
Treasure Island (RL Stevenson 1883)
2Can dogs be bilingual??How about this?
3Our mestizo Jack Russel/Chihuahua is tri-lingual: Mom speaks to him in Spanish, I speak to him in Spanglish, Dad & my other siblings speak to him in English, and the maids speak to him in Tagalog.
We successfully trained our dog to be bilingual by using both commands at the same time during training. He then associated both commands with the task at hand, so we could use either one. But he was a pretty smart dog, too (toytown
My Jacks are quadrilingual. They know English, German, Sign and Woof.
Anybody here with a bilingual dog?We adopted a 4-year-old English cocker three years ago from a Spanish-speaking family, and it had always occurred to me that he had been spoken to in Spanish with them, but I couldn't test it, not knowing enough of the language. We knew he was smart, as he learned at least fifty English words and phrases. Then recently I started learning Spanish myself, and on a whim yesterday, I asked him "Donde es pelota?" ("Where's the ball?") and he run into another room to get a tennis ball. This is a whole 'nother world!!
4What is a bilingual?Why bother?Taking a short cut: The Quick Gradient Bilingual Dominance Scale (Dunn and Fox Tree 2009)Lets try that out!Semantic and Verbal Fluency tests (Thurstone & Thurstone, 1943)Lets try that out!ConclusionOverview5In the extreme case of foreign language learning, the speaker becomes so proficient as to be indistinguishable from the native speakers round him In the cases where there is perfect foreign-language learning is not accompanied by loss of the native language, it results in bilingualism, (the) native-like control of two languages (Bloomfield 1933: 55-56)Bilingualism Definitions 16 A true bilingual is someone who is taken to be one of themselves by the members of two different linguistic communities, at roughly the same social and cultural level (Thiery 1978: 146) Bilingualism .. may be of all degrees of accomplishment, but it is understood here to begin at the point where the speaker of one language can produce complete, meaningful utterances in the other language (Haugen 1969: 6-7)Bilingualism Definitions 27The practice of alternately using two languages will be called BILINGUALISM, and the persons involved, BILINGUAL (Weinreich 1968: 1)
Which definition would you prefer? Why?Bilingualism Definitions 38Competence performance (Chomsky 1965)Bilinguals are speaker-hearers in their own right.A bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person (Grosjean 1989)Multicompetence (Cook 1991)it has to do with memory and thinking. I am going to say a letterof the alphabet, and I want you to say as quickly as you can all of the words you can think of that begin with that letter.You may say any word at all except proper names of people or places, like "Michael" or "Madison" if the letter I said wasM. Also, do not use the same words again with a different ending, such as "eat" and "eating" if the letter I said was E.Often people think of a few words and then draw a blank; if this happens, just keep on trying. You will have only oneminute to do this, so you shouldn't use your time to make other comments to me, you should keep trying to think ofwords until the minute is up. Is this clear?
Now, we are going to do another task that is similar to the alphabet task we did before.What I am going to do now is name a category and you shouldname, as fast as you can, all of the things that you can think of that belong in that category.For example, if I said "articles of clothing" you could say "shirt, tie,or hat", or if I said "jobs" you could say "teacher, lawyer, or nurse".You will have one minute to do this. Again, if you draw a blank,just keep on trying until the time is up. Is this clear?Okay. So your category is "animals", tell me all the different kinds of animals you can think of. Start now.9Studies in the linguistics, psycholinguistics, language development and neurolinguistics of bilingualism have often developed conflicting results.Some of the difficulties encountered could have been avoided if more attention had been paid to methodological and conceptual issues.(Grosjean 1998: 240)Why bother?Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogeneous speech-communication, who know its (the speech community's) language perfectly and that it is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of this language in actual performance." ~Chomsky,1965[10Lexical access: selective or non-selective?Are lexica language-dependent or language-independent?Do code-switches take time to produce or perceive?Conflicting results11Complementarity principleRarely equally fluent in all skills in all languagesStability changes over timeLanguage behaviour depends on interlocutor (monolingual/bilingual)
These factors affect performance on tasksParticipant characteristics differ from study to study.Individual differences between bilingualsPerception under noise conditions related to age of acquisition.Language use or disuse affects lexical representations.Different code-switching patterns dependent on proficiency or on the language mode.Tasks take more time to do in the non-dominant language12Self-ratingsQuestionnairesVocabulary testsJudgements of expertName pictures in both languagesFluency, speed, automaticityReading speedDuration of repetition of sentences in two languagesAbility to translateMluVocabulary richnessAccent ratings
Language dominance testsParticipants were asked if they developed a serious disease. Life could only be saved if they had brain surgery with the side effect that one of their languages would be removed. No evidence for the validity of this question for testing language dominance p. 24813Quick Gradient Bilingual Dominance ScaleQuestions about language biography and language preferences.Percent of language use for both lgsAge of acquisition and age of comfort of using both languagesRestructuring loss of fluency/accent
Lets try that out!Dunn and Fox Tree (2009)14012345678910speakingwritinglisteningreadingSelf-rating scalePlease indicate how well you know each of your languages
0 = no knowledge at all 10 = perfect knowledge
Language 1 = (please fill in the name of the language)15LanguageDunn and Fox tree scoreSelfrating (40 max)Polish1739English1536German616Dutch610Spanish68Czech613Student 08034885Dunn and Fox Trees (2009) dominance scale + self-rating16
Sofia Maravelakis data18TOTALspeakingwritinglisteningreadingL184.108.40.206.58.7L220.127.116.11.28.2L320.7L421.7L58.0L613Averages for self-ratingsTotspeakingwritinglisteningreadingQGB _L1.441**.417*.634**n.s..433*QBD-L2.502**.535**. 477**.436*.496**Correlations (QBD and self-ratings)* Significant at p
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