English language and linguistics research seminar: Kathleen McCarthy, Queen Mary University of London: A community-specific approach to studying multilingual acquisition in urban centres.

29 November 2023 13:15 to 15:00 Seminar

Large urban centres, such as London UK, are often celebrated for their diverse and multicultural linguistic environment. Children who grow up in such communities are exposed to a rich variety of languages and accents, leading to language patterns that likely vary throughout childhood and into adulthood. Yet, current multilingualism research excludes a significant proportion of urban multilinguals – particularly major diaspora communities and their heritage languages, which remain hugely understudied and unaccounted for in language acquisition research (Kidd & Garcia, 2023, Nielson et al., 2017). Furthermore, our methods and approaches for studying multilingualism often exhibit biases towards practices developed in Western communities (Henrich, 2010). In this talk, I will focus on sociophonetic acquisition in two understudied yet significant multilingual communities in London, UK: the Bangladeshi community in East London, and the strictly Orthodox Jewish (Haredi) community in North London. I will present findings from a series of studies that have investigated how unique community structures, both linguistic and social, give rise to varying speech production patterns. To conclude, I will discuss some methodological considerations when working with understudied diaspora communities. Specifically, I will explore how adopting a community-specific approach can unveil unique factors that may drive the acquisition of linguistic patterns in urban communities. 

Information about Kathleen McCarthy's research can be found on her website: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/sllf/linguistics/people/academic/profiles/mccarthy.html  

About the event:

29 November 2023 13:15 to 15:00

SOL: H339


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