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LINGUIST List 20.2890

Wed Aug 26 2009

Qs: Bilinguals known as 'Tongues' & SLA Implications

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        1.    Martin Boyle, Bilinguals known as 'Tongues' & SLA Implications

Message 1: Bilinguals known as 'Tongues' & SLA Implications
Date: 24-Aug-2009
From: Martin Boyle <mb330kent.ac.uk>
Subject: Bilinguals known as 'Tongues' & SLA Implications
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During the golden age of Portuguese exploration, sailors - known as
''tongues'' - would be put ashore on the coasts of Africa, Asia and South
America with instructions to start a family and integrate into the local
community. The Portuguese Crown's aim was to create a class of translators
and go-betweens who could be called on to facilitate trade in years to
come. The Macanese in Macau are an example.

Clearly, there are issues of bilingualism, pidginisation and creolisation
here, but I am more interested in how ''tongues'' acquired the local
languages and what can be learned about SLA from their experiences.
Starting from scratch using deduction and a kind of proto-direct-method
approach in an environment where there were no tools or prior
target-language knowledge must have presented major problems. Many of the
sailors would have been illiterate, for instance, although the Jesuits did
produce grammars and dictionaries of local languages. What can these men's
experiences tell us about notions of sojourner adjustment, acculturation
and 'going native'?

Are there any studies of other ''tongues'' in other eras?

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics

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