Multilinguismo: prospettive per
la ricerca
Multilingualism: Research
Opportunities
Rita Franceschini
Centro di ricerca lingue
Libera Università di Bolzano
Freie Universität Bozen
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
©Rita.Franceschini@
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Pavia, 19.5.2009
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Key concepts
1. diversity: The European area is able
to demonstrate its very specific
expertise in engaging with great
diversity.
2. historical foundation: The European
cultural area has been multilingual for
centuries.
3. cultural sensitivity: the natural
innate capacity of multilingualism is
developed through contact, in
exposure to real speech.
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The change of perspective
driving forces:
ミ increased sensitivity towards diversity
ミ linguistic phenomena arising from
migratory movements
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• not only economic benefits through
multilingualism
• enhanced levels in cognitive skills:
– changes in perspective
– empathy
– creative thinking, etc.
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Definition of
Multilingualism
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Multilingualism is understood as the ability of
societies, institutions, groups and
individuals to engage on a regular basis in
space and time with more than one language
in everyday life.
Multilingualism is based upon the fundamental
human capacity to communicate in a number
of languages. Distinctions may be drawn
between social, institutional, discursive
and individual multilingualism.
In this spirit, multilingualism is used to
designate a phenomenon embedded in
cultural habits and is therefore characterised
by significant cultural sensitivity.
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Main part:
Research opportunities
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Some predecessors and pioneers
…
...Adams Janse Swain Simon Ammon Dittmar Mattheier Androutsopoulos Aronin
Singleton Auer Li …Backhaus Behrent Berruto Birdsong Bloch de Bot Braunmüller
Bybee Hopper Ferraresi Byrnes Weger-Guntharp Sprang …Cenoz Genesee Hufeisen
Jessner Gorter Clyne Cook Cornips Nortier …Darquennes De Angelis DeGraff Dentler
Hufeisen Lindemann Deppermann Dewaele Dirim …Ehlich Extra Yagmur Kutlay
...Fase Jaspaert Kroon Fishman Francescato Florida Fusco Orioles Parmeggiani
…Goebl Nelde Stary Wölck Gicacalone Ramat Green Grin Grosjean Li Münte RodriguezFornells...
...Herdina Jessner Hoffman Ytsma Hufeisen Lindemann Marx Hyltenstam Obler Jenkins
Modiano Seidlhofer Jucker Fritz Lebsanft...Kallmeyer Keim Kemp Kecskes Klein
Perdue Carroll Coenen Deulofeu Huebner Trévise Krefeld...
...Lambert Tucker d’Anglejan Lamnek Leopold Lüdi Werlen...
…Marti Mechelli Crinion Noppeney O'Doherty Ashburner Frackowiak Mackiewicz Meisel
Miecznikowski Milroy Milroy Muysken Müller Kupisch Schmitz Cantone Müller-Lancé
Riehl Mondada Maess Koelsch Friederici Meisel Moscovici Mugny Van Avermaet Myers
Scotton...
…Nelde Nicol Pavlenko Pekarek Doehler Petersilka Py Rampton Rinaldi Rindler Schjerve
Metzeltin Ronjat...
…Selinker Schlieben-Lange Schrauf Steiner Schumann Pulvermüller Seidlhofer Singleton
Lengyel Steiner von Stutterheim …Taddei Gheiler Taeschner ten Thije Tracy
Zeevaert Thomason Kaufman Titone Tomasello ...
...Wattendorf Weinreich Wildgen Wode Zappatore Nitsch …
etc. etc. …
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0. Underexposed topics
1. the historical dimension of multilingualism
2. the interplay between language learning and
acquisition (neurobiological basis, cognitive
development, interaction and formal instruction…)
3. Unfocussed language acquisition, e.g.
acquisition through exposure
4. the age range between 7 and 14 in bilingualmultilingual acquisition
5. Long-term effectiveness of early acquisition
programs of L2, L3, Ln… in primary schools.
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1. Historical dimension
Questions to investigate
• What kind of configurations of
multilingualism can we detect in the past?
• What can we say about the attitudes toward
multiple use of languages?
• What was the "awareness" of being
multilingual?
• How did people deal with one another and
how did people learn languages?
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towards a historical grammatology:
• history of language X as a history of
language contact
• historical grammar of discourse
practices
• "migration linguistics"
• transition grammars: areas of contact
between dialects/regional languages as
continuum between varieties
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2. Historical minorities
and new minorities
“Multilingual individuals and groups, once
regarded as peripheral minority groups
or exceptions, are therefore located at
the focal point.
They have become symbols of European
communication skills and can be the
bridge-builders for a plural European
identity.”(Franceschini 2009, forthcoming)
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• lack of comparative studies for
historical minorities and regional
languages
• need for a Ethnography of multilingual
communication in language border
regions
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Requirements for language
maintenance (historical and
new minority languages):
• varied input at all levels
• attitudinal dimension: enhancing
factors of self-consciousness (e.g. by
establishing living examples)
• gaining new speakers
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Research questions
• How combine the topic of historical and
new minority languages?
• Which are the concepts bridging the two
groups?
• Which are the invariants?
• Which solutions are preferred for
multilingual communication at work, in
neighbourhood., at school, etc.?
• Which practices are associated with
aspects of identity, and which not?
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3. Statistical basis
and legal status
• a map of multilingualism
(with various "linguistic-tectonic plates” for
any country/region)
• need of comparative studies of the
legal basis for languages
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4. Multilingualism in
institutions
• include language skills in ‘knowledge
balance sheets’ of companies
• study multilingual practices which are used
to communicate in an daily working
environment
• verbal and written sub-forms
• explore practices along the emerging
language industries
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• research on "multilingualism in business"
should be expanded, above and beyond
the immediate economic benefit
• second and third generation: "educational
residents” (in Germany:
“Bildungsinländer”) represent a potential
for business contacts, with side-effects
for integration
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Research questions
• Are multilingual skills applied
systematically in institutions?
• Are employees' language skills promoted?
• Are companies aware of the networking
and mediating potential of second and third
generation immigrants?
• Is there any common ground and have
practices been established?
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5. Multilingualism in
discourse
Forms of multilingual interaction:
(besides Code-switching and Code-mixing)
• „interalloglottal communication”
(Behrent 2007)
• „crossing ” (Rampton 1995)
• ethnic varieties
• linguae francae and emerging varieties
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“Language adoption”
• sociolinguistic dimension:
majority language speakers use (parts
of) languages of minorities
• process:
“unfocussed language acquisition”
(Franceschini 2003)
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European media
discourse
Research questions
• Is there any European communications
culture?
• Are fragments of a European journalism
detectable?
• How can European identity be
communicated by media?
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CMC and the web
Research questions
• Non-native speaker of English dominate
the Internet: which methods are used
to be comprehensible worldwide?
• How are problems in expressing oneself
overcome?
• Which approach is taken towards
cultural assumptions?
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6. Multilingualism in the
individual
Future matters:
• to fill up the gaps in life-spans like:
– the age from 4 to approx. 14
– learning in a very advanced age
• to assess non formal learning contexts
for their learning potential (‘learning
outside of school’)
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Multiple language acquisition in
early childhood
Research questions
• Which effects are there if a child
acquires two or more languages in
succession at the age of 4-14 (in family
and at school)?
• Are the forms of acquisition evident as
the child grows older?
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• At which level does it possibly become
apparent (phonology, morphology,
syntax, vocabulary) and are the effects
detectable later on?
• What influence does starting a foreign
language earlier at school, at the age of
7 or 9 or 11, have upon the skills
attained when the learner enters
working life?
• Are some differences measurable?
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L3, L4… Ln
• Continue studies on the acquisition of a
third language (or fourth… Lnlanguage)
– effects on those languages already
mastered (acceleration, feedback
effects…)
– role of ‘auxiliary’ languages
– intercomprehension and enhanced
receptive multilingualism
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Research fields
• language learning at an advanced age
• interdisciplinary co-operation with teachers:
bring research and teaching closer together
• receptive multilingualism
• general "acquisition strategies" used
outside school (self-regulation)
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• peer mediation
• language biographies
• "near-native" skills
• study of cases in which multilingualism
does not succeed
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Main question:
Why some groups of children, above all
some sub-groups of migrant children,
do not manage to gain positive social
capital from the potentially positive
conditions which multilingualism entails?
– systemic approaches are needed
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Linguistics of Potentiality
from the hypothesis of deficit
 to the view on potentiality
• studies of ecosystems and ethnographic
analyses to understand heterogeneity
• interdisciplinary collaboration
(sociology, urban studies, linguistics,
communication and educational studies,
psychology etc.)
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Final remarks
interconnections between languages
• feed-back effects by being or becoming
bi- or multilingual
• from form–> to function–> to processes
• now: interdependence between
processes
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Promising fields:
• emerging varieties
• historical studies
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Theoretical and methodological challenge:
Multilingualism as trendy ‘week term’
or
Multilingualis as consistent research
field, with his own profile
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Future
1. foster theoretical and methodological
reflexion, based on a good empirical
basis
2. develop multifactorial approaches
3. formalization of complex, non-linear
developments
4. promising: orientation on system
theory
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Application
Necessity to ‘pioneer’ the field of research
on multilingualism for useful mediation:
– Which findings and concepts are helpful
at school and outside formal education?
– What can be said to parents, to decision
makers and to entrepreneurs?
– How the emerging ‘language industry’
can be in touch with research in
multilingualism?
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Grazie!
Thank you!
Merci!
Danke!
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Pavia, 19.5.2009
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Centro di ricerca lingue
Freie Universität Bozen - Libera Università
di Bolzano - Free University of Bozen
Dantestrasse 8, via Dante
I-39100 BOLZANO-BOZEN
[email protected]
http://www.languagestudies.unibz.it/
Report of the High Level Group:
http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/lang/doc/multireport
_en.pdf
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Skipped fields
•
•
•
•
•
translation and interpreting
multi-literacy
working memory, SLA and multilingualism
musicality and multilingualism
…..
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Multilinguismo: prospettive per la ricerca