Université du Texas (USA) – Language Dominance in Bilingualism.

Vos rendez-vous avec Monsieur Birsdong sont fixés les 27 mai (16h-18h), 3 juin (16h-18h), 4 juin (16h-18h) et 11 juin 2015 (16h-18h) – Université Paris Descartes – CUSP, 45 rue des Saints Pères, 75006 Paris – Salle R229.

In the context of bilingualism, dominance refers to asymmetries of skill in, or use of, one language over another. With the rare (perhaps nonexistent) exception of perfectly balanced bilinguals, such asymmetries are an essential characteristic of bilingualism. Thus if we are to understand the nature of bilingualism, we need to understand the nature of dominance. With this in mind, researchers have recently taken a renewed interest in bilingual dominance, as suggested by a forthcoming CUP collection on measuring dominance, a 2014Applied Linguistics article on age and dominance, and the increasing use and development of instruments for assessing dominance (see references below).

The Labex EFL seminars engage these considerations along with related topics, including: conceptualization and operationalization of dominance; dominance as a participant variable in processing and attainment studies; the relationship of dominance to proficiency, nativelikeness and attrition; the longitudinal dynamics of dominance; and the role of dominance in theories of language acquisition and processing across the lifespan. The organization and content of the four proposed seminar sessions are as follows:

The construct of dominance – date : 27 mai 2015 (16h-18h)

Properties of dominance: gradience and relativity • 0perationalizing dominance: dimensions and domains • Relationship of dominance to: proficiency, first language acquisition, heritage language, attrition  • Unstable dominance • Balanced bilingualism • Dominance as a categorical vs. continuous variable • The construct of dominance in recent studies

Dominance and age in bilingualism  – date : 3 juin 2015 (16h-18h)

Associations and dissociations of age with dominance • Age of immersion and potential for L2 dominance: critical period effects? • Dominance shifts and chronological age: a critical period for attrition? • Dominance, aging, lexical frequency and naming speed • Dominance, aging and executive control

Dominance and nativelikeness in bilingualism   – date : 4 juin 2015 (16h-18h)

Dissociating and associating dominance and nativelikeness • Balanced bilingualism does not imply nativelikeness in both languages • (Non-)nativelikeness and the nature of bilingualism • (Non-)nativelikeness and the critical period hypothesis • Native/non-native comparisons: whys and why nots • Dominance in processing French syntax

Fundamentals of assessment of dominance  – date : 11 juin 2015 (16h-18h)

Dimension-based vs. domain-based indices of dominance • Subtraction-based vs. ratio-based indices of dominance • Global assessments of dominance: Bilingual Language Profile vs. Bilingual Dominance Scale • Discrete assessments of dominance: A Quick Test of Cognitive Speed vs. Boston Naming Test • Language dominance and handedness: comparing constructs, assessments, and findings • Ambidexterity and mixed handedness vs. balanced bilingualism • Putting dominance indices to use: to identify ‘balanced bilinguals’; as participant factors in group designs and regression • Future directions in dominance assessment

Where appropriate, these topics are illustrated with examples from French or English. Participants in the Labex EFL seminars can expect to come away with an enriched empirical and theoretical understanding of bilingual dominance, along with a sense of the centrality of dominance in current bilingualism research.

  • The domains of research to which this proposal applies are: · language representation and processing in a lifespan perspective · language resources: tools • empirical methods in linguistics

Birdsong, D. (mid-2015). Dominance in bilingualism: Foundations of measurement, with insights from the study of handedness. In C. Silva-Corvalán & J. Treffers-Daller (Eds.), Language dominance in bilinguals: Issues of measurement and operationalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Birdsong, D. (2014). Dominance and age in bilingualism. Applied Linguistics, 35, 374-392. Gertken, L. M., Amengual, M., & Birdsong, D. (2014). Assessing language dominance with the Bilingual Language Profile. In P. Leclercq, A. Edmonds & H. Hilton (Eds.), Measuring L2 proficiency: Perspectives from SLA (pp. 208-225). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Birdsong, D. & Gertken, L. (2013). In faint praise of folly: A critical review of native/non-native comparisons, with examples from native and bilingual processing of French complex syntax. Language, Interaction and Acquisiiton, 4, 107-133.

Birdsong, D., Gertken, L. M., & Amengual, M. (2012). Bilingual Language Profile: An Easy-to-Use Instrument to Assess Bilingualism. COERLL, University of Texas at Austin. <https://sites.la.utexas.edu/bilingual/>.