Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
One mind: two languages. Our basic focus in this class will be on the linguistic and psycholinguistic underpinnings of the bilingual brain. The human capacity for language is unique and infinite; the multilingual brain/mind is nature's standard.
We will begin the semester with discussions about language and linguistics; we will then continue to understand what it means to "acquire" a new language. How did we acquire our first language(s)? Were we taught English? Japanese? Chinese? Spanish? If so, how did we "learn" so quickly? Is the learning of new subsequent language different from the learning of a first language? Is there a critical period for language learning?
We will consider different models of bilingualism. We will also consider other topics such as code-switching and how it is possible to have grammaticality judgments about code-switches. What are the effects of bilingualism on other domains of human cognition? What do brain imaging studies of the human brain tell us?
During the semester there will be opportunities to observe and conduct original research. We will consider issues concerning bilingualism for bilingual education, language planning and policy among many other topics.
(This is available at the campus bookstore as well as other area bookstores both new and used copies. It is also available for purchase online.)
Additional readings are available in the readings section.
Students must do all the assigned readings before class. This class will be run as a seminar in which everyone participates and contributes his/her ideas, conjectures, hypotheses and/or observations. This will not be a standard lecture class in which the instructor lectures to the class and the class takes notes.
There will be short weekly assignments that are due on the day specified on the syllabus. These assignments will ask you to consider what you have read for the class and to react to (rather than summarize) what you have read.
Late work is unacceptable since your assignments are designed to feed directly into discussions and other class activities.
This class is a CI-H. What does this mean? One thing it means is that we take your ability to write very seriously. You will have lots of opportunities to write in this class. Each weekly assignment will involve writing. Your final project will also provide ample opportunity for extended prose as well as practice in editing and revision.
Each of your assignments will be commented on both in terms of what you have written as well as how you have written it. We will work with you throughout the semester to help you develop good writing practices. Lots of time and attention will be devoted to this aspect of the class. Please take advantage of all of these opportunities.
Each student must lead a class discussion at least once during the semester. Guidelines about how you will do this will be provided. The topic you choose for this discussion should be related to your final project.
This will consist of a 8-12 page study/report that you will develop over the course of the semester. The project will be divided up such that you will first submit a proposal. We will discuss the proposal together. After this, you will then revise and resubmit this proposal for approval for the project.
Topics and the schedule of development will be discussed in further detail at the second class meeting.