A bilingual is defined as an individual who functions in more than one language on a regular basis. Psycholinguistics is the study of the cognitive processes that underlie how language users acquire, comprehend, produce, use, and represent language. This course will provide an introduction to classic and recent work on bilingualism from a psycholinguistic perspective. After reviewing basic concepts and methods in psycholinguistics the course will address empirical studies and theoretical frameworks related to such topics as stages of bilingual language acquisition and the role of age of acquisition, how bilinguals perceive and segment speech sounds, how word meanings are accessed and stored, how sentences are understood and planned, how characteristics of written language affect reading, how mixed language utterances are processed, and how properties of specific languages shape thought. Additional topics will include cognitive and neural repercussions of knowing more than one language, the cognitive impact of differences in degree of informal translation experience, and how bilingual language processing may be affected by aging, disuse of a language, or brain-injury. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the topic we will draw on research from cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science, education, and neuroscience. Students will have the opportunity to apply course concepts by making their own bilingualism related internet memes.
De Groot, A. M. (2011). Language and cognition in bilinguals and multilinguals: An introduction. Psychology Press, New York, NY.
Bialystok, E. (2009). Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 3-11.
Clashen, H., & Felser, C. (2006). How native-like is non-native language processing? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10, 564-570.
Comeau, L., Genesee, F., & Lapaquette, L. (2003). The modeling hypothesis and child bilingual codemixing. International Journal of Bilingualism, 7(2), 113-126.
Cook, V. (1991). The poverty of the stimulus argument and multicompetence. Second Language Research, 7, 103-117.
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Heredia, R. R. & Altarriba, J.(2001). Bilingual language mixing: Why do bilinguals code- switch? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 164-168.
Hilchey, M.D. & Klein, R.M. (2011). Are there bilingual advantages on nonlinguistic interference tasks? Implications for plasticity of executive control processes. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 18, 625-658.
Ianco-Worral, A.D. (1972). Bilingualism and cognitive development. Child Development, 43, 1390-1400.
Moreno, E.M., Rodríguez-Fornells, A., & Laine, M. (2008). Event-related potentials (ERPs) in the study of bilingual language processing, Journal of Neurolinguistics, 21, 477-508.
Peal, E. & Lambert, W.E. (1962). “The relation of bilingualism to intelligence,” Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 76 (27), 1-23.
Poplack, S. (1980). Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish y termino en español: Toward a typology of code-switching. Linguistics, 18, 581-618.
Vaid, J. (2006). Joking across languages; Perspectives on humor, emotion, and bilingualism. In A. Pavlenko (ed.) Bilingual minds; Emotional experience, expression, and representation (pp. 152-182). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
This course will consist of lectures, discussion, as well as in-class discussion of readings led by students.
Evaluation: Final course grades will be based on the following:
- Participation and attendance (10%): This course will be dependent on active student participation and in class discussion. This includes having completed the class readings before coming to class and bringing questions and comments about each reading.
- Reflection papers (40%): Each week students will be asked to turn in a 1-page reflection paper that is in the form of comments, critiques, or questions, based on the readings for that particular week.
- Leading discussion (20%): Each student will lead discussion of one of the readings given on a particular day. This will involve briefly summarizing the content of the readings and posing questions or raising critical issues to the class for discussion. Student thoughts and perspectives on the assigned texts will fuel that day’s in-class discussion.
- Bilingualism Internet Meme (15%): Students will be asked to form small groups and each group will create an internet meme based on a topic covered in class. The groups will also submit a written statement on how that meme is related to class. The groups will compete with each other to come up with the best memes. Grades will be based on completion and participation.
- Final Paper (15%): Students will prepare a research proposal on a topic relevant to the course. The proposal will identify a research question, briefly review relevant literature, and propose a way of answering the question. Required length is 8-10 pages not including sources/references.