This is the second of 3 presentations designed to make you think about second language learning



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This is the second of 3 presentations designed to make you think about second language learning.

  • This is the second of 3 presentations designed to make you think about second language learning.
  • Like the previous presentation, this one begins with guiding questions and ends with discussion topics.
  • After this presentation you will write a 2-page reflection on the topic synthesizing your thoughts and reactions.
  • LAF 2
  • What does it mean to be bilingual ?
  • Are you bilingual ?
  • Do you expect to become bilingual in English/French ?
  • (Picasso, 1925)
  • LAF 2
  • There are at least
  • 37 definitions
  • of “bilingual”
  • Linguists do not agree on any single definition of bilingualism.
  • LAF 2
  • Je parle donc je suis (je pense).
  • I speak therefore I am (I think) .

Balanced bilingual = mastery of two languages is roughly equivalent

  • Balanced bilingual = mastery of two languages is roughly equivalent
  • Covert bilingual = someone who hides knowledge of another language because
  • of an attitudinal disposition
  • Dominant bilingual = greater proficiency in one of the two languages
  • Early bilingual = someone who acquired both languages in childhood
  • Late bilingual = someone who became bilingual later than childhood
  • Receptive bilingual = someone who understands but does not speak or write
  • Secondary bilingual = someone whose second language has been added to a
  • first via instruction
  • Incipient bilingual = someone at the early stages of bilingualism
  • (Taken from Wei, 2000)
  • LAF 2
    • understand a second language …
    • read a second language …
    • write a second language …
    • speak a second language …
    • to varying degrees.
  • LAF 2
  • LAF 2
  • je parle
  • ich spreche
  • yo hablo
  • No one has the same level or the same type of proficiency in two
  • (or more) languages!

Attitudes about bilingualism have changed and evolved:

  • Attitudes about bilingualism have changed and evolved:
  • In the 19th century people believed that being bilingual was detrimental to intellectual and spiritual growth.
  • In the early 20th century some studies indicated that bilingual children had lower IQs than monolingual children.
  • Today, some bilingual speakers may be encouraged to suppress their minority language in favor of the culturally dominant language.
  • LAF 2

Current research on cognition reveals the advantages of bilingualism:

  • Current research on cognition reveals the advantages of bilingualism:
  • Creative thinking
  • Flexible thinking
  • Faster learning
  • Larger vocabulary
  • Greater sensitivity
  • in communication
  • LAF 2

  • Rethinking bilingualism
  • LAF 2
  • Often people think that being bilingual means that a person can speak another language like a “native speaker.”
  • The problem:
    • A person cannot become a native speaker of another language. A native speaker is born into the community in which the language is used.
    • Most people are incapable of achieving native-like speech (pronunciation, idiomatic oral proficiency, etc.) in a second language.
  • Being bilingual means being able to …
    • … use a language other than one’s native language
    • (L1) at any level for any purpose.
    • … exploit whatever linguistic resources one has for
    • real-life purposes, such as reporting symptoms to a
    • doctor, negotiating a contract, or reading a poem.
    • … stand between two languages (L1 and L2), even when
    • apparently only using one.
    • … have the resources of two languages (L1 and L2)
    • readily available whenever needed.
  • (Taken from Cook, 2002. )
  • LAF 2
  • Bilingualism is not a state, but a process;
  • not a goal but a continuum.
  • BILINGUAL CONTINUUM
  • ----x---------------------------------------x--
  • incipient balanced
  • LAF 2
    • Do you want to be able to understand French well enough to watch a TV program ?
    • Do you want to be able to read newspapers, books, internet sites in French?
    • Do you want to be able to write emails, letters, articles, stories, poems in French?
    • Do you want to speak well enough to be considered a “credible insider” when you travel to a country where French is spoken?
  • LAF 2

Many people in the French-speaking world are bilingual. That is, they are able to use French at varying levels for varying purposes.

  • Many people in the French-speaking world are bilingual. That is, they are able to use French at varying levels for varying purposes.
  • In a country where French is not the indigenous language, using French may be perceived as a sign of elitism or exclusion.
  • Therefore, the issue of bilingualism may be a source of conflict or controversy.
  • LAF 2

What is the symbol of Canada?

  • What is the symbol of Canada?
  • What is Canada’s national language?
  • What does it mean to be a speaker
  • of French in Canada?
  • LAF 2

Read the Dec. 2012 editorial essay in The Star:

  • Read the Dec. 2012 editorial essay in The Star:
  • “National language strategy is key to Canada’s future”
  • www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2012/12/31/national_language_strategy_is_key_to_canadas_future.html
  • Write a 2-page essay answering this question:
  •  In what ways does the analysis of bilingualism in this LAF help you assess the issues outlined by Irvin Studin in this article?
  • LAF 2
  • Auer, J.C.P. (2000). A conversation analytic approach to code-switching and transfer. In L. Wei (Ed.), The bilingualism reader (pp. 166-187). New York: Routledge.
  • Cook V. (Ed.). 2002. Portraits of the L2 User. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Scott, V. (2010) Double talk: Deconstructing monolingualism in classroom second language learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Wei, Li (ed.). 2000. The bilingualism reader. New York: Routledge.
  • LAF 2


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