You should turn in a brief paragraph stating your selected topic by Thursday, October 21. The paragraph should include a sentence or two defining the specific theme on which you will focus, and another few sentences about your initial approach.
Some hints to help you in your selection:
o Make sure that the topic represents an area in which you are highly interested and will keep you engaged as your research progresses.
o Take into consideration the time constraints and the availability of material related to your subject. You should conduct some preliminary research in order to make sure that you will be able to develop your research in the time allowed.
o You may start by a rather general topic or idea (e.g., "Language policy in the U.S."), and narrow it depending on the aspects that interest you the most (e.g., the effects of language policy on education>the effects of policy on K-12 curriculum>the effects of language policy on K-12 curriculum in the last 20 years in the State of Washington.).
o Try to be as loyal as you can to your initial subject. You probably will refine your topic and introduce changes in your approach as your knowledge in the subject increases; but you will save time and energy if you choose carefully from the beginning.
o Appropriate topics: Bilingual speech communities, language situation of a particular minority group, language and education (all levels), particular approaches to bilingualism in the U.S. or in other countries, language and culture, bilingualism and biculturalism, role of language in (national or state) policy, etc. During winter quarter we’ll focus on literacy issues, particularly reading, which could be a very fruitful subject of research, specially for those interested in connections between teaching theory and practice.
o Appropriate approaches: historical, comparative, descriptive
and/or analytical, with more or less emphasis on linguistic, sociocultural
and educational issues.
Subject: Focusing on the following three factors: task (process of acquisition), individual, and environment, describe briefly the most relevant aspects present in L1, L2, and bilingual acquisition (e.g.,the relationship between cognitive development and language acquisition). What do L1, L2, and bilingual acquisition have in common and which are the most important aspects necessary to understanding each mode of acquisition?
You may consider applying two of the perspectives (e.g., psychological, sociological, etc.) presented in In other words, or you may prefer to approach your account through a combination of all perspectives. If you decide to analyze the role of the three factors from a particular theory or theories, be sure to clearly establish the reasons behind your choice. If you present conflicting theories, be specific about the elements you are using from each approach and why.
The paper should not be longer than five pages. Since you will not be able to be exhaustive in your discussion, you should select those issues that appear more relevant and present them succinctly but coherently.
You should draw information and examples from all the readings and discussions, and organize them to provide a clear picture of your understanding of the process of language acquisition. You should record your sources properly, using consistently the citation style of your choice (MLA, Harvard, etc.).
Due date: Thursday, October 23.
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Answer one question from each section (total = 4). Each answer should not exceed two pages. You need to consider all the material covered up to the sixth week. You may need to enrich your answers with research beyond the readings for the class. You should cite all your sources properly (exams which lack bibliographies will not be evaluated).
Due date: Monday, November 8, at noon.
Section I: Language acquisition
A) Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition and Cummins Threshold and Language Interdependence hypothesis have been extensively cited in most of the readings. Briefly described the major components of each one and establish the principal assumptions on which the theory is based. Analyze the relevancy of these theories for teaching and learning a second language. Criticize the theories, establishing which are the major problems or questions that the theories are not addressing.
B). Define the role and explain the relationship between
social interaction and first and second language acquisition. Focus your
answer on the interplay of "self", "language" and "culture". Establish
clear connections between mind (mapping meaning, categories, etc) and social
and cultural contexts.
Section II: Language and culture
A) Define the terms acculturation and assimilation. Compare two (or more) of the models describing acculturation and assimilation processes. What are the roles of culture and language in such processes? Provide some concrete examples. You may use the case studies presented in Language diversity: problem or resource? to analyze the acculturation process in a particular immigrant community.
B) Watch the video Richard Rodriguez. Victim of Two
Cultures, or read any narrative produced by an immigrant about their
experiences (Check the Open Reserve area in the library). List and prioritize
the principal assumptions on which the protagonist is basing his statements.
Respond to each one from linguistic and cultural perspectives (language
and culture deprivation theories, role of education and bilingual education
in particular, social distance), combining all the information you have
accumulated during the past weeks.
Section III: Bilingualism at the individual and national levels
A) Define each of the following terms: Bilingualism, biculturalism, diglossia and diethnia. You may provide more than one definition or briefly explain the reasons behind your choice of one over the others. For each definition, explain the problems and the consequences that adoption of such definitions may have at the social, institutional and individual levels. You may need to define and address concepts such us code switching, borrowing, loanshift and interference.
B) Drawing from international as well as individual examples, write two separate arguments, one in favor and one against, for adopting bilingualism at the national level, showing with clarity the advantages and disadvantages for the individuals and the society.
C) Compare two multilingual countries other than the United
States. What are their language policies and language attitudes?
Can you identify in those policies a "language-as-a-problem", "language-as-a-
resource", or "language-as-a-right" approach? Can any of these countries
serve as models for U.S. language policies? Why or why not?
Section IV: Bilingual Speech Communities in the United States
A) Compare two linguistic minorities (preferably an indigenous and an immigrant community), their language attitudes and cultural situation in relation to the host society. Take into consideration historical and immigration patterns, as well as language and culture similarities and differences.
B) Compare the 1980 Census data with the most recent 1990
Census data on speakers of languages other than English. Interpret the
numerical differences and hypothesize reasons for those changes. Analyze
the quality of the survey questions and indicate which ones are more likely
to get inaccurate information. How could they be modified in order to increase
the surveys' precision?
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If there are numerous sources on your subject, you may consider to narrow it by choosing a relevant aspect or topic characteristic, or, in the case of scarce material, you may conduct your bibliographical research on more than one subject.
The bibliography should be in alphabetical order, and you can divide it into sections such as general reference works, books and articles, or according to themes covered. The citations should comply with the MLA format.
Try to include in your bibliography only those titles that directly apply to your topic, for which you should have physical contact with the book or article, or possibly know of its contents by reading indexes or abstracts. You may proceed in your library work by first consulting general reference books that will lead you to more specialized material on the subject; in any case you should have first-hand knowledge of your sources.
You should have a minimum of 10 entries.
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