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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

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This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: Self-ratings of spoken language dominance: A Multilingual Naming Test (MINT) and preliminary norms for young and aging Spanish–English bilinguals
Author: Tamar H. Gollan
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Author: Gal H. Weissberger
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Author: Elin Runnqvist
Institution: Universitat de Barcelona
Author: Rora I. Montoya
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Author: Cynthia M. Cera
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Spanish
Abstract: This study investigated correspondence between different measures of bilingual language proficiency contrasting self-report, proficiency interview, and picture naming skills. Fifty-two young (Experiment 1) and 20 aging (Experiment 2) Spanish–English bilinguals provided self-ratings of proficiency level, were interviewed for spoken proficiency, and named pictures in a Multilingual Naming Test (MINT); in Experiment 1, the Boston Naming Test (BNT) was also used. Self-ratings, proficiency interview, and the MINT did not differ significantly in classifying bilinguals into language-dominance groups, but naming tests (especially the BNT) classified bilinguals as more English-dominant than other measures. Strong correlations were observed between measures of proficiency in each language and language-dominance, but not degree of balanced bilingualism (index scores). Depending on the measure, up to 60% of bilinguals scored best in their self-reported non-dominant language. The BNT distorted bilingual assessment by underestimating ability in Spanish. These results illustrate what self-ratings can and cannot provide, illustrate the pitfalls of testing bilinguals with measures designed for monolinguals, and invite a multi-measure goal-driven approach to classifying bilinguals into dominance groups.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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