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Sociolinguistics - 2015 glossary
Terms in this set (78)
The languages spoken by Aboriginal Australians before the arrival of English colonisers. Aboriginal English is the technical name given to a continuum of varieties of English ranging between standard Australian English and creoles used by Aboriginal Australians.
When decreolisation takes place, i.e., a creole language coexists with a standard language and the latter exerts some influence on the former, a range of varieties develop. In such a situation a continuum appears in the language and speakers in that speech community show a range of different pronunciation features, which are usually associated with social stratification. The acrolect is the top and educated variety which is closer to the standard and further away from the creole. The basilect is the bottom variety which is closer to the creole and futher away from the standard. The acrolect can evolve into a New English.
African American Vernacular English (AAVE)
(See Black English Vernacular). Sometimes called Black English Vernacular, Black English, or Ebonics, it refers to the language spoken in black communities in the US. Some linguists consider it a significantly different linguistic system from the standard dialect since it does not conform to its pronunciation, grammatical structure, idiomatic usage, vocabulary, etc. In the 1960's the issue of AAVE became a source of concern in the education system as it was perceived that black students performed below average in schools and the reason was thought to lie in their language skills. It was considered that Black English speakers had to face the double load of having to deal with linguistic differences in the classroom as well as in the course content. This issue has been a source of concern ever since.
Languages can be classified into typological categories based on how words are formed. An analytic language is one in which words tend to be one syllable long with no affixes, as in Chinese or Vietnamese. The function of words in a sentence is shown primarily by word order. Analytic languages are also known as isolating languages. (See synthetic language).
It is a language that is used for a special purpose and has, among others, a specific functional goal. Pidgins are auxiliary languages but there are also instances of artificial auxiliary languages such as Esperanto, Business English, Maritime English and Air-Traffic Control English. These languages sometimes have a specialised jargon and that tends to be the most difficult part as they are not very complex from a syntactic point of view.
When decreolisation takes place, i.e., a creole language coexists with a standard language and the latter exerts some influence on the former, a range of varieties develop. In such a situation a continuum appears in the language and speakers in that speech community show a range of different pronunciation features, which are usually associated with social stratification. The basilect is the bottom variety which is closer to the creole and further away from the standard. The acrolect is the top and educated variety which is closer to the standard and further away from the creole.
This term is closely related to bilingualism. In the same way that someone speaking two languages would be considered bilingual, someone who can use two dialects can be considered bidialectal. (See Dialect). It all depends, of course, on what is considered a dialect, but the ground definition would be a variant of a language due to geographical differences. Nevertheless, being bidialectal implies that the differences between the concerned codes is not so great as to prevent mutual intelligibility.
Black English Vernacular
(Also African American Vernacular English). This term refers to the non-standard English spoken by lower-class African American in US urban communities. This term substituted Black English which assumed that all black people used the same variety. It has been demonstrated that the differences that distinguish Black English from standard English are paralleled in varieties of Black vernacular varieties spoken in other parts of the world such as the Caribbean and West Africa.
In the UK, Black English Vernacular is the result of the linguistic change from creole languages spoken by Afro-Caribbean immigrants which were influenced by English as a dominant language in the UK. This language has also become more English-like for the UK-born descendants of these former immigrants.
This term is used in comparative and historical linguistics to refer to words or phrases which have spread from one language or dialect and are used in another. Although less evidently and less frequently, borrowings can also occur at a different linguistic level such as syntactic. The borrowing language may have various ways of incorporating the foreign form into the recipient language's phonology, morphology and syntax. Borrowing can be originated by a wide range of different causes including:
a) Close contact between two or more language codes in multilingual situations which favors the transfer of elements.
b) The domination of some languages by others due to cultural, economic, political, religious or other reasons.
c) A sense of need because technology or culture advances more rapidly in countries speaking certain languages.
d) A sense of prestige associated with words or expressions coming from other languages.
There is a clear difference between the concepts of code-switching and borrowing. There is no doubt in the case of historically transferred forms which have settled in the target language (e.g. words like 'castle', 'forest' and 'tempest' come from French, and words like 'call', 'egg', and 'law' come from Norse). Code-switching, however, is spontaneous, affects all levels of linguistic structure simultaneously and is unstable as it depends on the context and the relationship between the speakers (e.g., the Spanglish that is often heard in places such as Gibraltar or Texas). On some other occasions, borrowings may resemble code-switches because they maintain a foreign status and retain another languages' syntax (e.g., fixed phrases from Latin: 'ad hoc', 'sine qua non', etc.)
This term applies to someone who has learnt two languages in different contexts, and they are kept distinct. This probably entails the existence of two meaning systems with two different words. This raises the question whether both languages develop together or separately in the brain. Neurolinguistic findings suggest that words are stored together in the case of early bilingualism, from childhood, but kept in separate places if bilingualism was developed later.
This term was first introduced by the American anthropological linguist Dell Hymes in opposition to chomskian conception of native speaker's linguistic competence which referred to the linguistic intuitions of an idealised native speaker. Dell Hymes considered that the linguistic knowledge of grammar, pronunciation and lexicon is not enough, as speakers also have other types of linguistic knowledge about how to use that language properly in society. This additional knowledge allows speakers to be sensitive to some determining factors such as the context, the type of interlocutor, and the register, for example. Communicative competence is acquired by native speakers of the language but it also needs to be acquired by non-native speakers, together with linguistic competence. The 'ethnography of speaking' studies what is necessary to be communicatively competent in different speech communities.
This term describes a situation in which one language has been learnt after the other and, through the first one. Both languages are closely connected as they are composed of a single meaning system with two words or labels for a single meaning. This raises the question whether both languages develop together or separately in the brain. Neurolinguistic findings suggest that words are stored together in the case of early bilingualism, from childhood, but kept in separate places if bilingualism was developed later.
This term refers to the actions undertaken in order to partially modify the nature or characteristics of a language in some way, such as decisions regarding what pronunciation to adopt from those available; decisions regarding what syntactic or morphological patterns to use; or, even what regional forms adopt as the standard. Corpus Planning (CP) may also control the incorporation of new vocabulary. CP is closely related to status planning which refers to whether the status of a language could or should be raised or lowered.
Geographical variation affects languages in the form of dialects. This refers to how locality correlates with differences in the way people speak the language. People who speak a dialect often use different words or pronunciations for the same word. This type of variation may also affect syntactic and intonation patterns. Nowadays, dialect variation tends to diminish due to the fact that the media and the communication infrastructures have a homogenising effect on languages. Sometimes the distinction between dialects and languages is not quite clear as sociopolitical factors may play an important role in the decision. It must be added that not even dialectologists agree on a single definition of 'dialect'.
It is the study and search for idiosyncratic features in language use within a geographical area. Dialectologists usually analyse the typical vocabulary, pronunciation, intonation patterns, and other characteristics, and try to match these with specific geographic areas. They draw lines (called 'isoglosses') on maps to try and visualise areas where certain language features are used.
This field of research refers to the analysis of linguistic units above the sentence level, i.e., texts or conversations. By analysing written or aural texts, discourse analysts explore the different functions of language in social interaction.
These are words, phrases or sounds that have no content meaning but play an important role in marking conversational structure, signalling conversational intentions and assuring cooperation on the part of listeners. Some discourse markers in English are: 'actually', 'really', 'Oh, Yeah', etc. Interestingly, the types of discourse markers and their uses frequently change across languages.
This term refers to the combination of social and situational factors that generally influence the choice of code by speakers: code, dialect, location, register, style, topic, etc. For example, the language of home will be different to the language used at a formal meeting at work. The same speaker will use different styles, an informal one for the former situation and a formal one for the latter. This concept is frequently used in studies of code-switching in multilingual contexts where various languages, dialects or styles are employed in different social settings.
A bilingual who no longer use their languages but who acquired them in the past and reached a comprehensive knowledge and command.
Languages normally develop, merge or die, and whenever a language is at risk because the number of speakers decreases we can say that that language is endangered. This can be the result of many factors but bad or adverse language planning is generally behind the progressive disappearance of a language. Economics, or rather the lack of importance of a language for business, can cause its death. Many Amerindian languages are in this situation at the moment.
(See also Lexifier). This term refers to any creole which is English-based and therefore has a vocabulary heavily influenced by English. Due to the post-creole continuum, that language may still be receiving words from English.
Ethnography of communication
A term that in addition to the definition of the 'ethnography of speaking' includes nonverbal aspects of communication, for instance, distance between speaker and hearer, eye contact, etc.
Ethnography of speaking
This branch of sociolinguistic studies the norms and rules for using language in social situations in different cultures. The ethnography of speaking deals with aspects such as the different types of language to be used under different circumstances; how to make requests, grant permission, or ask a favor; the degree of indirectness desired in certain situations; how to express your opinion or interrupt your interlocutor; how and when to use formulaic language (greetings, thanking, etc.), etc. Researchers hope to provide insight into, as well as improve, cross-communicative competence.
This branch of sociology deals with the content of what is being said rather than the way it is being said. Ethnomethodologists do not study speech or language but the content of what is being said and, what is more, what is not being said because of shared knowledge or common-sense knowledge.
This is a language spoken by an immigrant group or individual in another country. For example, in Canada, a country largely composed of immigrants, there are close to 200 languages spoken by these types of groups. This term is to be distinguished from Indigenous Language which also refers to a minority language but in this case alludes to the natives of that land. In Canada, for instance, about 50 Indigenous Languages are spoken some of which are only spoken in that country, and none of which is considered an official language of Canada.
A manifestation of linguistic insecurity, for instance, in a social group. It can manifest itself by the overuse of the socially desired forms in careful speech or reading, especially in an attempt to speak or write in an educated manner. For instance, English speakers who do not pronounce [h] normally, will in certain situations make an effort to pronunce [h]'s and then often over-generalise their use to words that never had an [h]. Such as "aitch" (h) becoming "haitch".
In empirical research this term refers to any person who provides information to be analysed and is consequently a source of data for the researcher. A native speaker providing insights of his/her use of language is an informant, but also a student who attends a class that is being observed to gather information about the students' progress.
In language teaching and learning this term is used to refer to any negative influence (e.g., lexical, syntactic, phonological, etc.) that one language exerts over the other, either the L1 on the L2 or vice versa. Interference usually hinders the learning process and causes a problem fot the language learner whereas positive interlinguistic influence helps the language learner.
In some countries like Spain (The Royal Academy), France (The French Academy), Ireland (The Irish Language Commission), Norway (The Norwegian Language Council), etc., there are institutions which play a role in safeguarding standards, so they try to regulate the evolution of the language by limiting unwanted foreign influence and, in a way, by trying to control how the language changes. This sort of control is more likely to be successful in written language than in spoken language and the task is rather difficult these days when the media exerts considerable influence on languages all over the world and globalisation may threaten the preservation of minority languages and the integrity of others.
Gradual language loss. This term can refer to the loss of a mother tongue that has been acquired and due to lack of use - probably because the person has moved and it is not longer the language of the community - it is gradually forgotten. This happens quite frequently among second and third generation immigrants. In second language learning, it can refer to the loss of a language that was learnt through formal instruction but gradually forgotten after a period of disuse.
In multilingual situations languages are frequently in some sort of conflict caused by ideological, political or economical reasons. Some issues typically generate problems in multilingual settings such as decisions regarding the selection of an official language, the choice of a given language for formal education, or the selection of a language to be used in courts, among others. Another typical situation of language conflict occurs when two or more languages compete for status in society. Many current language conflicts result from different social status and government's preferential treatment of the dominant language.
Some developing countries, at some point, need to make decisions with regards to their sociopolitical evolution and their international recognition. For instance, Mozambique adopted Portuguese, the former colonial language, as its official language. Something similar happened to India, which in spite of an initial desire to detach from their former colony, later assumed English as an additional office language. These decisions are normally made for practical purposes either because the nation-state needs an agglutinative language to overcome a wide linguistic variety and/ or because some advantages are seen in the possibility of having a Lenguage of Wider Communication (LWC) as an official language.
(Or functions of language). Language is frequently described as having three main functions: descriptive, expressive, and social. The descriptive function of language is to carry factual information. The expressive function of language is to provide information about the speaker's personal feelings, preferences, etc. And the social function of language serves the purpose of maintaining social relations between people.
This term refers to a situation where language shift in a speech community ends in the total shift to another language. For instance, imagine a group of immigrants that go to a new country and, gradually, in one or two generations blend into the new speech community as their language becomes eventually extinct (e.g., the language loss of Dutch immigrants in Australia). This phenomenon would be referred as language death if a language shift ends with the total loss of a language from the world, i.e., all speakers shift to a different one (e.g., Manx on the Isle of Man). In the area of individual bilingualism, language loss can occur among bilingual children in cases in which the minority language is still unstable and the dominant language occupies most domains (school, friends, TV, etc).
Language Policy Division
This department of the EU is located in Strasburg and is responsible for the progress of language education policies within the EU member states. This Division is in charge of the elaboration of guidelines and policies related to language learning and the development of policy planning regarding linguistic diversity. Among other responsibilities, they (a) assist member states with policy evaluation and depiction (at national and local levels); (b) elaborate instruments for policy analysis; (c) provide assistance regarding linguistic minorities language education; etc.
(Or Language revival). Language planning efforts made in order to revive a language that because of social or economic reasons has decreased in number of speakers which was even lost (see Language death). A language shift can lead to the spread of a dominant language and the loss of the minority language. The reasons underlying Language Revitalisation (LR) can vary but they are often caused by a group's search for cultural and/or ethnic identity. The best example of successful LR is Hebrew which was a classical liturgical language for centuries and is now a living language. An instance of less successful program to revitalise a language is Irish in Ireland where governmental efforts to reintroduce the use of Irish in schools have not been so effective.
This consists of an increase in the use of a language or language variety for a given communicative function by a specific social or ethnic group. LS can either refer to a traditional language within a speech community or a language that is adopted as 'lingua franca' of LWC, as has been the case of English during the 20th century. Languages can also spread within a nation as a new mother tongue instead of as an additional language but in this case it is perhaps better to talk about language shift. Extreme cases can even lead to language death as has happened with the spread of Spanish and English in America resulting in the loss of many Amerindian languages.
(Also see English-lexifier creole). This term refers to the language from which most of the vocabulary has been taken to form a pidgin or creole. English, French, Spanish and Portuguese have served as lexifier languages as a consequence of the colonial exploits of countries speaking these as native languages. The contact between one or more of these European languages and a native language led to the development of pidgins and creoles in different parts of the world.
This is a language which is commonly used by speakers who have different mother tongues and, therefore, need a common language to communicate among them. 'Lingua francas' have existed since ancient times (e.g. Greek koiné, Arabic, Mandarin, etc.) but the most remarkable example nowadays is English, which is spoken by some people as a mother tongue, many others use it as a second language, and still others as a foreign language, but, as a rule, it serves as a 'lingua franca' for international and intercultural communication. In spite of being widely used, the knowledge of speakers in different areas may vary considerably depending, often, on the domains in which the language is used and the function(s) it fulfils locally.
It refers to lexical, phonological, syntactical knowledge and skills and other dimensions of language as system, independently of the sociolinguistic value of its variations and the pragmatic functions of its realisations. This component relates to the range and quality of knowledge (e.g., in terms of phonetic distinctions made or the extent and precision of vocabulary) but also to cognitive organisation and the way this knowledge is stored (activation, recall, etc.).
LWC (Language of Wider Communication)
This term is equivalent to 'lingua franca', meaning a language used by speakers of different languages to communicate with each other. Two instances of LWC in the times of the Roman Empire are Latin in the west and koiné Greek in the east. After World War II, English became a LWC. (See 'lingua franca').
This term refers to the study of sociolinguistic aspects in large groups of speakers as opposed to micro-sociolinguistics that studies areas related to small groups. Macro-sociolinguistics deals with the relationship between sociological factors and language as, for example, language planning, language shift and multilingual matters. This is an umbrella term for a type of research, rather than an area of study itself; so studies looking at the Sociology of Language can generally be described as macro-sociolinguistic because of their scale.
When decreolisation takes place, i.e., a creole language coexists with a standard language and the latter exerts some influence on the former, a range of varieties develop. In such a situation a continuum appears in the language and speakers in that speech community show a range of different pronunciation features, which are usually associated with social stratification. The mesolect is the intermediate variety, or varieties, with the basilect and acrolect varieties of the creole marking the extremes of the creole varieties.
The study of sociolinguistics in relation to small groups of speakers, speech communities or the speech of individuals. This branch of sociolinguistics deals, for example, with the analysis of face-to-face interaction and discourse analysis. This term is used in opposition to macro-sociolinguistics which refers to larger scale study of language in society.
These are languages that live in the shadow of a culturally dominant language which puts the minority language at risk. As a result of political or social factors, these languages are very often not used in all areas of activity by native speakers as they can be excluded from certain spheres as administration, education, or mass media (e.g., Scottish Gaelic is widely used in church but marginally in other social gatherings). These factors often require speakers of minority languages to be bilingual as they will need to operate in at least two languages. Minority languages may be - or may have been at some point in their history - at risk either from political decisions affecting their maintenance or by the lack of vocabulary to cover certain topics. Some actions can be undertaken to promote minority languages (see chapter 5) by means of language planning and language policies. Some instances of minority languages are Irish, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic which exists in the shadow of English, or Breton in the shadow of French.
A person who has spoken a language since early childhood. This term is rather controversial in linguistics because of assumptions that a native speaker can be appealed to resolve questions of correct usage because s/he is reported to have authority to determine correct or deviant usage. Native and non-native are not clear cut homogenous categories as variation depending on individual factors (origin, education, etc.) is enormous and all speakers are, in turn, native speakers of a given language or dialect. In second language learning native speakers have traditionally represented the "model to follow" in the process of learning but this has proven to be an inefficient approach as the processes of first and second language learning are naturally and necessarily different. Moreover, recent studies have shown that, contrary to popular belief, 'native speaker introspection' is an unreliable guide to actual usage.
This term refers to any of the varieties of English that have emerged as a consequence of the ample spread of this language during the colonial period. Examples of New Englishes are the English spoken in India, Kenya, Singapore or Jamaica, among others. Also known as World English, it does not emphasise the dicptomy between native and non-native use but embodies the recognition of English as an international language that shows formal and functional variation in different contexts, as a result of its use in multilingual and multicultural contexts.
This paradox is how to observe language use without people knowing you're doing so. Sociolinguistics are obviously interested in recording natural language but, as Labov observed, people change their production -often unconsciously- becoming more careful and standard in their speech when they are being recorded. This means features like idioms and relaxed pronunciation can be underrepresented in sociolinguistic data. The problem of how to gather vernacular language data is one which is still a methodological challenge for sociolinguistic research.
This term is concerned with the functional use of linguistic resources (production of language functions, speech acts, etc.) used in aural communication or scripts of interactional exchanges. It also concerns the mastery of discourse, cohesion and coherence, the identification of text types and forms, irony, parody, etc.
This is a branch of linguistics that studies the use of language in communication, i.e., the relationships between utterances and the contexts and situations in which they are used. Within pragmatics, discourse analysis looks at language in discourse.
This is someone's skill in using a language, generally as a second language. This term describes the degree of skill that someone has attained in a language and his/her ability over the four basic skills: speaking, reading, writing and listening.
(Proto) - Indo- European
Languages can be classified genetically. This classification involves comparing the structure of different languages in order to show common parentage. Indo-European is the best- known language family. The major Indo-European subgroups are: Indo-Iranian, Armenian, Albanian, Anatolian, Hellenic, Italic, Celtic, Baltic, Slavic, and Germanic. English belongs to the Anglo-Frisian group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic subfamily. An unattested (reconstructed) language is indicated by the term 'proto'.
This was a 'lingua franca' used in the Mediterranean area from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. It is interesting to know that this language was kept stable for centuries in spite of not having native speakers and being just a contact language used by speakers that did not share a common language. The origin of pidgins is not clear and there is an ongoing debate about it, but some specialists, known as monogeneticists, suggest that all pidgins based on an European language derive from this 'lingua franca'.
This term refers to the sociocultural conditions of language use. Through its sensitivity to social conventions (rules of politeness, norms governing relations between generations, sexes, classes and social groups, linguistic codification of certain fundamental rituals, etc.), the sociolinguistic component of language strictly affects all linguistic communication between representatives of different cultures, and surely those of the same culture too, even though participants may often be unaware of its influence.
This is a technique to collect speech samples to gather information about a given speaker, or group of speakers, in a speech community. This qualitative method of research is of prime importance for the sociolinguist as it provides face-to-face interaction with the informant and allows recording for later analysis.
When people coming from different social and linguistic backgrounds interact, quite naturally they tend to analyse and judge each other's speech and taking their own speech as a reference. The more interaction with different cultures, dialects, registers, etc. the more referents a speaker will have and, therefore, the more capable they will be of perceiving their culture and way of thinking as just one of many. This way, speakers may be able to understand and shape their own perception of cultural and sociolinguistic identities. Sociolinguistic relativity entails the acknowledgement of sociolinguistic diversity.
Sociology of language
This term refers to a branch of sociolinguistics that studies large scale processes of interaction between language and its use in society. Also referred to as macro-sociolinguistics, it deals with the relationship between sociological factors and language, especially language choice. Some of the issues studied by the sociology of language are language planning, multilingualism, and language shift.
A speech act is an utterance that represents a functional unit in interaction. Speech acts can have a locutionary meaning or an illocutionary meaning -in fact most commonly both. The former refers to the basic literal meaning of the utterance which is conveyed by the particular words and structures used. The latter refers to the effect of the speech act on the listener, or the text on the reader.
This term refers to actions aiming at raising or lowering the status of a language or dialect and which basically refers to decisions regarding the selection of particular varieties for particular purposes or communicative functions. Status planning is closely related to corpus planning as language planning policies can never be solely corpus-oriented or status-oriented.
This term refers to the instances and characteristics of variation which occur at the present time in language. That is, the way variation affects language at a given point in history, for instance: gender, register, style, etc. Diachronic variation, however, looks at language change through time.
Synthetic languages have a number of suffixes which carry different (often functional rather than lexical) meanings, such as tense or case, and vary their shape according to the word they are added to; synthetic languages are also known as inflectional languages. A single suffix can express a number of different grammatical concepts, as in Latin. (See analytic language). They are also known as inflectional languages.
In conversation analysis this term describes the fundamental mechanisms on which conversation is based, that is, the right and/or obligation to speak with the interlocutor. General conversational patterns are arranged in a way that only one speaker speaks at a time but the way turn-taking is organised depends on cultural specific factors. Conversation needs to be two-way otherwise it turns into a monologue.
This is a broad term used to refer to a sort of language that is considered as a separate entity for some reason but which generally shares a great deal of common features with a standard or other varieties. It is not therefore considered a different language. A given dialect, accent, style or register can be considered a variety, which is a term preferred by linguists as it is less loaded. Language varieties can be very wide spread and standardised such as Australian English or American English but they can also be very localised such as Cockney (in London) and Scouse (in Liverpool).
It is a gradual process in which changes in the individual or group's language, culture and system of values occur through interaction with another majority group with a different language, culture and system of values. A process of acculturation typically accompanies language learning/acquisition and the desire of an immigrant group, for instance, to absorb features of the prevailing culture, including the language.
In linguistics, this term refers to the ways in which knowledge is gained through unconscious observation and exposure to the language. It is generally associated with the ways children 'pick up' their native languages or, in the field of Second Language teaching and research, with the ways learners pick up language though exposure in naturalistic contexts.
Learning is typically contrasted with acquisition as it includes the types of knowledge that can be intentionally grasped, that is, knowledge that can be consciously memorised, for example, a list of capital cities in Europe.
The contrast can be useful to distinguish between situations in which children acquire their first languages apparently without effort and those in which adult Second Language learners explicitly study the language with different degrees of success. It remains unclear to what extent and to what degree Second Language development benefits from acquisition on the one hand and from learning on the other.
It occurs when someone whose ability to function in a second language is developing due to increased use, so it represents an expansion of his/her linguistic repertoire. It generally occurs where both languages continue to be useful and valued.
The opposing term is 'recessive bilingualism' when there is a decrease in an individual's linguistic competence, usually due to an insufficient use or development of a language. Eventually, 'recessive bilingualism' may result in temporary or permanent language attrition when a second language provokes the loss of the first one. In certain contexts, a majority language learned in the school becomes the main language to the detriment of the home language. Other situations that result in recessive bilingualism include political repression or linguistic assimilation in a majority language which is perceived as superior.
This term refers to those people who master two different languages in various contexts and situations. Balanced bilinguals are supposed to be equally fluent in both languages across various contexts in which they usually perform with native-like proficiency, as if they were monolingual. The term is quite idealised since bilinguals tend to use one language or the other depending on different purposes and contexts. The concept is much debated due to the difficulty of encountering similar levels of language competency in any context. Balanced bilinguals can also be called "equilinguals" or "ambilinguals".
Content and language integrated learning (CLIL)
An approach to second language learning based on the use of that language as the medium of instruction for the teaching of curricular content areas. CLIL entails a double focus: the development of non-linguistic knowledge at the same level as in mainstream education, and the acquisition of a second language aided by scaffolding and other specific teaching techniques. In the US the term 'Content-based second language instruction' is preferred.
A teaching/learning approach in which the contents are taught in a foreign language, in this particular case English, with the aim of developing the language skills of the learners in that foreign language at the same time as they are learning the contents required in the curriculum, such as maths, history, or biology. The approach aims to develop the students' language and academic skills. These skills are developed unconsciously through the content dealt with on the assumption that the information delivered through the content is interesting and useful, learners will acquire the language faster. In addition, the language acquisition process may be more efficient and the language learners more motivated.
Its main advantage is the provision of meaningful contexts for communication in the classroom, but there is a risk of achieving lower outcomes in the subject matter. Such content instruction can be "sheltered" by simplifying the language used as well as the content.
Acquisition of a second language (or subsequent additional languages) after the age of three. A typical situation that produces consecutive bilingualism is that of children who receive instruction at school in a language different from their mother tongue, or as the result of moving to another country or language context. The first language may influence the way in which they learn and use their second language.
Consecutive bilingualism is also called sequential bilingualism and these terms are often used in contrast with that is simultaneous bilingualism.
The understanding and respect for differences between people from different countries or different cultural or linguistic backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes, values and perceptions, and the development of intercultural sensitivity. Cultural awareness is supposed to break down national, ethnic and language stereotypes and widen the understanding of different kinds of societies. Increasing individual cultural sensitivity is seen as important as the world becomes more of a "global village", with more sharing of experience and mutual understanding required.
While cultural awareness may be conveyed in the first language, the inseparability of culture and language means that such awareness may best be achieved through simultaneous language learning. Bilingual people who are also bicultural are very aware of other's values, beliefs, customs and perceptions of reality, as well as of their own, though these may be different and even opposite. This is one of the many individual reasons why a child or an adult can benefit from being taught a second or third language. However, being bilingual does not necessarily entail being culturally aware.
Family language planning
Consists of the family's deliberate efforts to influence the acquisition of their child's language. This is very important in situations where the family's vernacular language is at risk, or has only secondary status, or when parents deliberately want their children to develop communication skills in a specific language that they know and use. On some occasions the family wishes to maintain the heritage language in order to ensure continuity in intergenerational transmission of language, and for the children to become bilingual and preserve the family language. This choice may take the form of a tacit understanding or of a conscious strategy about which language to use with the child from birth upwards. Family language planning can be very useful to initiate, establish and maintain childhood bilingualism.
Affective relations inside families are a determining factor in maintaining minority languages. If the minority language is not used at home, it is not very likely that the children will be able to learn it later; without family language planning, language maintenance is practically impossible.
Family language planning can also be extended to other members of the family such as grandparents when they speak a heritage language.
Heritage language bilingual education
A bilingual education model which allows minority language children to receive instruction in their native, home, or heritage language. In its more inclusive usage, heritage language education is found in schools and classes for established and recent immigrant language groups and community-based language initiatives.
Its goals are to develop full bilingualism as well as to preserve the ethnic language and culture of a community. Content is taught through the minority language which is the student's home language and also the majority language. It is a strong form of bilingualism which aims at additive bilingualism and biliteracy. Appreciation of participant's cultural heritage is emphasised, and native speakers of both languages may be present. Examples can be found in New Zealand, with regard to the Maori language, or German teaching in Pennsylvania, in the USA, for instance.
Private, selective and independent schools usually found in large cities which provide instruction in a majority language - English in most cases - and other national or international languages depending on their location and goals. Many of the pupils in these schools are the children of diplomats or affluent business people living abroad for professional reasons although they also attract local people.
These schools offer a curriculum (normally US or British) which is different from the national curriculum. They normally prepare students for the Baccalaureate and entry into European or North American universities. The commitment is to international education and bi- or multilingualism.
This research method, also called observational study, involves repeated observation of the same variables and the same group of individuals over an extended period of time. This research modality involves data retrieval at different intervals over a period of time. This is particularly useful when studying the effectiveness of an educational program, because we can check the success of the students over the period. Longitudinal research is also useful for gaining insight into cause and effect processes, and observing patterns of change.
Longitudinal studies have shed light on the number of years required by a second language learner to catch up with native speakers of that language with regard to language proficiency or subject matter knowledge.
Bilingual speakers who display quantitative and/or qualitative deficiencies in the command of their languages in comparison with monolingual speakers. Some of the features that this term could embrace, with regard to both languages, are: a small vocabulary repertoire, incorrect grammar, thinking consciously about language production, stilted and uncreative use of each language, and difficulty in thinking and in expressing emotions, for instance.
Traditionally, this term has had negative connotations since it is used to define someone who lacks competence/proficiency in either language, and it disregards issues such as disadvantageous social conditions, differences in competence depending on contexts, or the implicit richness of having access to different language communities. This term is also used for people who have acquired several languages at different periods of their lives, but who have not developed a native-speaker's level of proficiency in any of them, or for students who have not mastered either of the languagea yet.
Acquisition of two languages from the early childhood, usually within the family and before the age of three, that is, a person who is a simultaneous bilingual goes directly from speaking no languages at all to speaking two languages. It is often the result of parents or other family members speaking in different languages to the child. If languages acquired in this way continue to be equally developed, the result is usually quite balanced bilinguals with the proficiency of a native speaker bin both languages, especially if there are plenty of opportunies to use both languages. Exposure to both languages does not necessarily imply that they will be acquired to the exact same extent; exposure is necessary but not sufficient.
It is also referred to as "infant bilingualism" or "bilingual first language acquisition". Although their acquisition of each language may be somewhat slower than that of children who are acquiring a single language, their development in the two languages combined is equivalent to that of monolingual children.
Use or ability to use three languages. In young children, trilingual language acquisition largely follows the path of bilingual, for in many cases bilingualism favours the acquisition of a third language. Early trilingualism, when a child is exposed to three languages from birth, is more rare than trilingualism achieved through schooling (for example two languages learnt at school). A common situation in some parts of Spain (1) is that a child learns a local vernacular language at home, a regional language in the community or at school, and a third language, an official or international language, as part of his/her formal education. Another possibility (2) is that the parents of a child speak different languages, perhaps following the one-parent one-language model. At school, the child studies a third language again resulting in a trilingual person.
Nowadays some experts prefer to talk about multilingualism. Multilingualism is the act of using, or promoting the use of, multiple languages. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population and multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of globalisation. The generic term for a multilingual person is 'polyglot'.
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