Bilingualism • Everybody knows what bilingual means; yet…as soon as we start trying to define the concept precisely, things get very complicated. This is not just hair splitting: if bilingualism is complex, it is because it is directly related to complex issues (Riley, 1986: 31).
Four Questions • What is a bilingual society? • Where can they be found? • What are the functions of and attitudes toward languages in bilingual societies?
No one speaks the whole of a language • ‘Stubs to can wall penetration welds’ are? • ‘Injury and tort’ • A ‘treble top’
Recognizing languages as different tools • There are many definitions • None is satisfactory
One • The mastery of two or more languages—bilingualism or multilingualism—is a special skill. Bilingualism and multilingualism are relative terms since individuals vary greatly in types and degrees of language proficiency (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1965).
Two • Bilingualism is native-like control of two languages…Of course, one cannot define a degree of perfection at which a good foreign speaker becomes a bilingual: the distinction is relative (L. Bloomfield, 1933).
Three • Bilingualism is understood…to begin at the point where the speaker of one language can produce complete, meaningful utterances in the other language (E. Haugen, 1953)
Two Issues • Bilingual individuals are part of a society • --contact between speakers • The relative nature of bilingualism • --degrees of bilingualism
Relative competence versusrelative use. • He speaks Swedish and Italian equally well. Versus • He speaks Swedish and Italian everyday.
Where can we find bilingual societies? • Where there is contact between linguistic groups: ---political, economic (Examples: Mexico, USA) • Historical and political changes: ---changing borders, (example: Alsace, France) • Widespread bilingualism: Swahili, Tanzania
Monolingual and bilingual countries • Half the population • Contradicts unilingualism absolute link to national and individual identity • Official bilingualism does not indicate high percentage of bilinguals and vise versa. • Examples: France and Tanzania versus Canada and Belgian
What are the functions of and attitudes toward languages in bilingual societies? • Diaglossia: (Ferguson , 1959) --- high form and low form ----urban (Madina, Ghana) or rural (New Guinea) ---trades and occupations
Example of Diaglossia: Paraguay • Two languages spoken: Spanish and Guarani • Choice of language determined by context
Joan Rubin’s four contextual factors: 1. Location of interaction 2. Degree of formality 3. Degree of intimacy 4. Seriousness of discourse
Decline of Indigenous languages in bilingual communities Chorti Maya (Mexico) • Proximity to dominant language • Political and economic factors • Upward social mobility
Language and historical events: • Language transformation • Changes in attitudes and practices • Adjusting to other languages • Overtime: language shifts
Power struggles and language death • Equally in multicultural as well as in small-scale societies (Australia versus Yimas village) • Example one: Hungarian language in Austria ---positive versus negative social meanings ---peasant life versus modern life
Strategies utilized by Bilinguals • Code switching and code mixing • Code switching:When bilinguals integrate linguistic resources from two languages within the same discourse segment, this strategy has a number of linguistic and interactional functions
Code Switching: • integration of linguistic resources from two languages within the same segment • to express a more precise meaning ---i.e.Mohawk “Then I woke up Sunday Morning.” “She turned sixty-five in July.” • to compensate for memory lapses Necesito un string para la kite I need a string for the kite
As an attention-getting deviceNow let me do it. Put your feet down. MiraTo express social valueSociety hii aisii hai“The society is like that.”
Code Mixing • Is a linguistic process that incorporates material from a second language in a base language: morphological markers. To watch: Watchando
Language Death • Typically based on economic and political imperatives • Historical reasons: overwhelming forces • Central American case: colonialism and conquest • Assimilative policies: North America and Australia
Language death among the Arapaho • English associated with power • Bilingualism becomes an asset • Bilingualism gives way to monolingualism • Indigenous language loses prestige
Other reasons for language death • Being outnumbered: Normandy, Hungarian speakers of Austria • Negative attitudes towards local languages Tiwa opposite example • Immigration • Cultural imperialism; mass media, Hollywood
Summary • Bilingualism is difficult to define ----depending of the purpose of the particular language use • More than half of the population is bilingual ---monolingualism versus bilingualism • The functions of and attitudes of languages in depend on social contexts ---diaglossia: High and low form: depend on context
Discussion Question • What do you think is the future of most languages in the world? What can we do to prevent the death of these languages.