SOAS University of London

Centre for Language Pedagogy

Can the internet wake up dormant bilinguals?

Prof. Anne Pauwels

Date: 22 January 2013Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 22 January 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Talk

Advanced transport systems and communication technologies have had a profound impact on how we live our lives including how we communicate with each other. Constraints on communications across vast distances have been largely lifted thanks to increased virtual mobility. These developments have not bypassed language scholars. There is now a vast and ever growing body of research examining ‘language and/on the internet’, on the use of communication technologies in language learning and more recently, on the impact of such communication advances on language revitalization and language maintenance. Perhaps least developed is the latter area: the role and impact of new communication technologies on language maintenance in situations of unstable (dynamic) bi-and multilingualism. In this talk I will present a case study that investigates the role and impact of new communication modes and technologies on language maintenance efforts. I have selected to explore this issue in the context of a group known for its low ethnolinguistic vitality and very high levels of language shift: second generation Dutch-Australians (they have a language shift rate of approximately 90%). The findings from  this case study reveal the need for a re-thinking  of  what constitutes LM in the cyberspace era. In light of this I propose a new agenda for research into language maintenance and shift.

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