Mixing languages is usually a sign of high competence in both languages. Bilinguals often do it even within a sentence (known as code-switching). This does not mean they cannot speak in just one language, or that they are not sufficiently fluent in both languages. It simply means that these speakers use their whole potential in communication, i.e. using the expression that best fits what they want to say. Some studies have found that speakers who are very fluent in both languages are the ones that mix the most.
No, children do not get confused about languages. Bilingual children speak at least two languages. Instead of confusing the two, they have to learn what language(s) they can use with each person. They start learning fairly early on (before age 2) but this can be influenced by the language situation at home. If some children go through a period in which they mix languages, this is nothing to be worried about. Eventually all bilinguals end up with at least one native language, possibly two. If parents and/or siblings use both languages in communicating with the child then the child will at first naturally assume that everybody is bilingual and that it can mix both languages when speaking with other people. It might take a little bit for the child to figure out that the daycare teacher only speaks English. But eventually it will happen (rather sooner than later). Keep in mind that no healthy grown-up bilingual mixes up languages when speaking to monolinguals.
Mark your calendars and save these dates because the fall line-up for UIC Talks in Linguistics has been announced. All talks are scheduled on Fridays at 3 PM and will take place in University Hall 1750, located at 601 S. Morgan Street here in Chicago. We look forward to seeing you there for some interesting talks on a wide array of linguistic topics.
- September 21: Masaya Yoshida, Northwestern (Psycholinguistics)
- October 19: Kay González-Vilbazo, UIC (Code-switching)
- November 2: Bernie Issa, UIC (SLA)
- November 16: Craig Sailor, UCLA (Syntax)
- November 30: Nicholas Henriksen, Michigan (Phonology)
Titles of the talks as well as abstracts will be announced closer to the dates listed for each.
Literacy News has a great litle blurb on a question all of us get on a regular basis: What do linguists do? Although it mentions a wide-variety of the avenues available in the linguistics field profession-wise, it does make clear a common misconception. That is, being a linguist does not mean that you are “fluent in five languages and spend your day thumbing through dictionaries.”
The Latin American and Latino Studies Program and the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies present:
“You’re in America Speak English.”“Multilingualism threatens our national unity.”“Today’s immigrants are not learning English as quickly as those of the past.”These myths regarding language are fairly prevalent in the U.S. at the beginning of the 21st century. Approximately 20% of the U.S. population speaks a language other than English at home, yet several mainstream currents portray this linguistic diversity as a problem – with repressive and sometimes illegal results. But there have been growing countercurrents of awareness that heritage languages are in fact both a right for the communities that speak them and a resource for the nation generally, along with the understanding that there are good ways (and not so good ways) of promoting English language learning. Several cities have enacted initiatives to protect people’s right to maintain their heritage language without being accused of rejecting mainstream U.S. society, and several K-8 educational models teach other languages to our nation’s English monolingual children. This talk explores these issues making frequent reference to Spanish in the U.S. and to Chicago more specifically.
This Friday October the 7th, Frank Savelsberg will be presenting a talk at UIC TiL entitled ‘La periferia izquierda “alta” y “baja” y la estructura informativa en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales’.
Join us at 3 PM in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60607) for the talk, and as usual, light refreshments will be provided.
We hope to see everyone there!
La periferia izquierda “alta” y “baja” y la estructura informativa en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales
Frank Savelsberg, Freie Universität Berlin
La intervención se centrará en variantes del orden de palabras en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales que divergen de modo significativo de los posibles tipos de organización de constituyentes en las lenguas actuales en cuestión. En el Español moderno, por ejemplo, predomina el orden de sujeto – verbo – complemento y es la organización no marcada en oraciones con verbos transitivos:
(1) María come la manzana.
Si uno desplaza el complemento directo a la periferia izquierda de la oración en el Español moderno la repetición a través de un pronombre clítico es indispensable:
(2) La manzana la come María.
Contrario a ésto, en el Español medieval pueden encontrarse estructuras como en (3a-b):
(3) a. E esto fiz yo porque tomases exiemplo. (Juan Manuel, Conde Lucanor)
b. […] que aestos dos procuradores fuese dado, por mi mandado, poderio por las çibdades e villas […] (Anonym, 1432)
En el primer caso se trata de un complemento directo dislocado al margen izquierdo de la oración, en el segundo caso de un complemento indirecto. En ambos casos, el Español moderno exige la repetición de los complementos dislocados a través de un clítico.
La intervención también se dedicará a estructuras como las siguientes:
(4) a. E pues que la Emperadriz ouo esto fecho murio. (Gran Conquista de Ultramar)
b. […] e hauemos por experiencia visto […] (Anónimo, 1414)
En ambas frases se encuentran formas perifrásticas para expresar el pasado y entre el verbo auxiliar y el participio se hallan constituyentes interpoladas. Esta construcción no es posible en el Español moderno, la vecindad inmediata del verbo auxiliar y del participio es obligatoria.
Las observaciones y los análisis de la intervención quieren dar unas primeras respuestas a las preguntas siguientes: ¿Qué función cumplen los complementos dislocados en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales respecto a la estructura informativa? ¿Los elementos interpolados entre auxiliar y participio están marcadas en cuanto a la estructura informativa? ¿Qué función cumplen en el discurso?
Mark your calendars!
UIC Talks In Linguistics (TiL) is pleased to announce this semester’s lineup:
Frank Savelsberg, Freie Universität Berlin
La periferia izquierda “alta” y “baja” y la estructura informativa
en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales (Spanish)
David Heap, The University of Western Ohio
Non-standard Spanish clitic sequences:
data from the Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica
Ming Xiang, University of Chicago
MaryAnn Parada and Shane Ebert, UIC
Please join us at UIC TiL Fridays at 3 p.m. in University Hall 1750, at the University of Chicago Eastern Campus.
Stay tuned for more information!
Although he doesn’t chat about anything linguistics-related, Metro Pulse did a recent interview catching up with Noam Chomsky. If for any reason, us linguists should read the article and leave a comment because the author starts the piece saying, “Linguistics. It just isn’t a sexy discipline.” I know the Bilingualism Research Lab sure begs to differ.
This Friday, January 28th, Dr. Erik Willis of Indiana University will be presenting a talk entitled, “Findings from a Spanish trill seeker” (abstract below), an interesting discussion of the Spanish “r/rr.”
Join us at 3 PM in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60607) for the talk and as usual light refreshments will be provided.
In addition, directly following the talk, Dr. Willis will hold a Praat workshop in Grant Hall 304. All are welcome to join us for this discussion of linguistic research and classroom implementation.
Findings from a Spanish trill seeker
This paper will provide an overview of a laboratory approach to understanding the Spanish phonological trill based on acoustic work on different three dialects, Dominican, Veracruz Mexican and Jerezano Peninsular Spanish. Spanish rhotics, and in particular, the Spanish phonological trill, have been a topic of research in linguistics due to the potential for neutralization, considerable variation and complexity of production. Trill production has also been a topic of interest to researchers working on theoretical issues such as gemination, syllabic affiliation, gestural score, phonetic/articulatory factors, etc. Trill variation is also one of the principal characteristics for dialectal variation of phonetics. However, it is only recently that detailed acoustic accounts have been forwarded.
We will begin by reviewing the “normative” descriptions of the Spanish trill and then proceed to illustrate the principal acoustic characteristics used to identify or delimit a phonological trill. We will then review the findings of three dialectal examinations including the acoustics of the primary allophonic variants. We will next review the specific phonological contexts in which the variants are found across the dialects and the specific acoustic characterization for each dialect. For two of the three dialects, the phonological trill is also contrasted with the phonological tap to better understand contrast and how the contrast is maintained despite the similarities in the segments. The talk will conclude with data and findings of a current study of phonological trill in newscaster speech in the Dominican Republic.
Praat is a powerful tool for acoustic analysis. Our review will focus on its uses for linguistic research. In this hands-on workshop we will first review some basic functions of Praat including opening files, editing files, extracting small portions of sound, and saving sound files in a wav format as well as a binary format. The remainder of our time will be spent on the bulleted topics below.
▪ Creating textgrid. Textgrids are annotations attached to a sound file that can be used to automate the extraction of data and insertion of text including phonetic symbols.
▪ Extracting text from textgrids. A transcription of a sound file can be effective using Praat for the transcription and then extracting the text into a single file.
▪ Logging. Logging is a quick automated analysis of specified features with a single button. These buttons can be programmed for specific functions similar to “hot keys” in word.
▪ Tonal modification. The intonation contour of a sound file can easily be modified in order to examine a wide variety of topics. With a simple modification a question can be converted into a statement.
I will conclude with a demonstration of several ways in which I have used Praat in the classroom for teaching. We will try to leave a few minutes at the end for individual questions.