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"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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Query Details

Query Subject:   Bilingual Residents of NYC Needed for Survey
Author:   Sue Dicker
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Discourse Analysis

Query:   I have created an on-line survey for bilingual English-Spanish and English-
Chinese living in New York City. The survey asks questions about their use
of their native or heritage languages in private and public spaces.

The survey can be found at the following URL:

The present study will document the experiences of Hispanic New Yorkers
using their native or heritage language in public. It also probes the question
of whether this experience is unique to this group by eliciting the experiences
of another group, Chinese New Yorkers. Certainly, these two groups differ in
size; the sheer ubiquity of Hispanics gives their language a greater presence
in the life of the city. In addition, Asians in general are often labeled “the
model minority,” immigrants who thrive and prosper as a result of hard work
and devotion to education, rather than through dependence on public welfare;
this positive stereotype contrasts with the negative one under which
Hispanics live. However, there are similarities between the two groups as
well. The Chinese, like Hispanics, are identified as a racial minority, and
using the Chinese language is a trait that reinforces this label. Both groups
have a prominent presence in the city, as can be seen by the long-existing
Chinese- and Spanish-language media available to these groups. The study
will ask: As reflected in the experiences of Spanish- and Chinese- speakers,
how do New Yorkers respond to the use of two languages which identify two
minority/nationality groups seen as distinct from the American “norm”: those
of European origin, identified as “white” and exclusive speakers of English?
How do Chinese- and Spanish-speakers react to these experiences? Do
some members of these two groups modify or monitor their use of their
languages, perhaps to avoid negative reactions? Finally, if the experiences
of these groups are markedly different, can the data collected in this study
help to answer why?
LL Issue: 23.1872
Date posted: 13-Apr-2012


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