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Blingual Literacy and Input Knowledge Outcomes: Tracing Heritage Language Bilingual Development

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BLINK (Blingual Literacy and Input Knowledge Outcomes: Tracing Heritage Language Bilingual Development)

Reporting period: 2018-08-15 to 2020-08-14

BLINK proposes a novel approach to studying Heritage Language Bilingualism (HLB), combining offline and online methods. Heritage language bilinguals (HLBs) are individuals who acquire naturalistically a minority first language (L1) in childhood in their home, despite typically becoming dominant in the majority language of the larger society over time. While some HLB children, despite this naturalistic exposure to their home language from birth, end up with little or no productive competence in that language, some might be indistinguishable from their monolingual counterparts. BLINK's overarching goal is to unveil both how and why such perplexing outcomes of HLB tend to arise. We examine the role and weight of key variables that (potentially) contribute to ubiquitous differences between HSs and their matched monolingual counterparts. To this end, BLINK capitalizes on the relatively unique opportunity Turkish provides as a heritage language acquired in its diaspora in the EU (the snapshot will be Norway and Germany). BLINK's battery of experiments also fills a methodological gap in the HL literature by using oral production, online (eye-tracking) and offline comprehension experiments with the same HL populations, thus enabling one to see if modality of testing (production vs. processing in real time) brings anything to bear on HS performances. BLINK will have numerous societal and economic impacts as it is primarily related to language maintenance in minority/immigrant communities. Understanding the processes of language acquisition in immigrant populations is crucial because the child’s early education is primarily based on comprehending auditory language and speed of processing that have strong ties with successful learning.
Editorial work
- Bayram, F., González Alonso, J., Kush, D., Lohndal, T. & Rothman, J. (eds., special issue, 2021). Capturing and Quantifying Individual Differences in Bilingualism. Applied Psycholinguistics
- Bayram, F., (ed). (2020). Studies in Turkish as a Heritage Language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
- Bayram, F. (under contract, to appear in Spring, 2022). Elements of Heritage Language Bilingualism: Terminology and Methodology. Cambridge Element Series in Language and Linguistics (Eds. Alessandro Benati & John W. Schwieter). Cambridge University Press.
- Bayram, F., Di Pisa, G., Rothman, J., Slabakova, R. (forthcoming). Emerging and New Methodologies in Heritage Language Acquisition. In Montrul, S. and Polinsky, M. (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Heritage Languages and Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.
- Bayram, F., Kubota, M., Luque, A., Pascual y Cabo, D., Rothman, J. (2021). You can’t attempt to fix what is not broken: Contextualizing the imbalance of perceptions about heritage language bilingualism. Frontiers in Education Special Issue The Home Language Goes to School: Heritage Languages in Classroom Learning Environments (edited by Roumyana Slabakova)
- Bayram, F. (2020). Turkish as a heritage language: Its context and importance for the general understanding of bilingualism. In Bayram, F. (ed.). Studies in Turkish as a Heritage Language. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
- Lloyd-Smith, A., Bayram, F.,Iverson, M. (2020). The effects of heritage language experience on lexical and morphosyntactic outcomes. In Bayram, F., (ed.) Studies in Turkish as a Heritage Language. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
- Bayram, F. & Rothman, J. (2020). Formal linguistics and education: A view from bilingualism research. In Kupsich, T. & Trotzke, A. (eds.). Formal Linguistics and Language Education. Springer International Publishing.
- Bayram, F., Rothman, J., Iverson, M., Kupisch, T., Miller, D., Puig Mayenco E., Westergaard, M. (2019). Differences in use without deficiencies in competence: Passives in the Turkish and German of Turkish heritage speakers in Germany. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 22(8), 919- 939
- Bayram, F., Kupisch, T., Pascual y Cabo, D., Rothman, J. (2019). Terminology matters on theoretical grounds too!: Coherent grammars cannot be incomplete. Studies in second language acquisition. 41(2), 257-264
- Bayram, F., Pascual y Cabo, D. and Rothman, J. (2019). Intra-generational Attrition Contributions to Heritage Speaker Competence. In Köpke, B. and Schmid, M. (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Attrition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Puig-Mayenco, E., Cunnings, I., Bayram, F., Miller, D., Tubau, S., & Rothman, J. (2018). Language Dominance Affects Bilingual Performance and Processing Outcomes in Adulthood. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01199
Invited Talks/Teaching:
- Bayram, F. (2021). Individual Differences in predictive processing in Turkish as a heritage Language: An online eye-tracking study. Research Seminar Series, Bangor University, (March 24, 2021). Wales, UK.
- Bayram, F. (2019). Individual Differences in Heritage Language Acquisition. The UiT – HSE Workshop. UiT The Arctic University of Norway. (March 18-19, 2019). Tromsø, Norway.
- Bayram, F. (2019). Untangling the Source of Individual Variation in Heritage Language Acquisition. The AcqVA Colloquium Series. University of Trondheim. (March 5, 2019). Trondheim, Norway.
BLINK organized and took part in the organization of the following events:
- Workshop: Turkish in Europe (July 12, 2019, Hildesheim, Germany
- Workshop: Capturing and Quantifying Individual Differences in Bilingualism (September 2-3, 2019, Tromsø/Norway.
- Thematic section: Literacy in heritage languages. International Symposium on Bilingualism ISB13 (10-14 July 2021, the University of Warsaw, Poland, originally scheduled for July 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19,
Bilingualism is not a dichotomy (one is or is not), but a continuum of abilities to comprehend and/or produce more than one language. It is thus not surprising that HLB linguistic outcomes also exist on a spectrum of competence. Language acquisition and bilingualism in immigrant environments is perhaps the most ubiquitous variable that determines and delimits economic development as well as family and community relations. There are millions of heritage language speakers of many different languages across Europe. Crucially, children of millions of immigrants/refugees from the world's conflict zones often lack a formal education and an exposure to their home language. The findings from BLINK will inform research, education, and policies concerning these populations, as well as contribute to the development of educational tools addressing the special needs of heritage children in both Norway and Germany (and beyond). BLINK will also promote the importance of language maintenance for immigrants and the passing along of heritage languages in the diaspora for cultural and economic reasons. BLINK’s findings will also help HLBs themselves to realize that there is value in learning and maintaining their home/parental languages. In this line, the results will help destigmatize bilingual immigrants and their cultural and linguistic heritage, informing them about the true nature of their linguistic competencies and realize that their distinct use of their heritage language is a richness and only a reflection of their cultural reality.