LOT Winter School 2018

Aspects of multilingualism

Jacomine Nortier


Universiteit Utrecht


Level: intermediate

Course description:

Aspects of multilingualism

In this course we will take a closer look at some linguistic phenomena from the field of language contact and multilingualism and try to understand how their emergence or development only can be understood when the social background or motivation is taken into consideration.

Throughout this week, starting on the first day: collect examples of what you consider youth languages from the Internet. How do they relate to the topics discussed during this week?

In Friday’s class we will discuss your examples and compare them to the literature on youth languages.

Monday, 15 January

What is the relation between language, ethnicity and identity?


  • Eckert, P. (2008). Where do ethnolects stop? International Journal of Bilingualism, 12(1-2), 25-42.

Question: why is it important to study more than just the form of language?

Tuesday, 16 January

Code-switching: how knowledge of social reasons for code-switching helps to understand this phenomenon.


  • Nortier, J. 1994. Dutch-Moroccan code-switching in the Netherlands. Indian Journal of Linguistics, 1-19.
  • Li Wei. 1998. The ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions in the analysis of conversational code-switching. In P. Auer Code-Switching in Conversation, 156-179. London/New York: Routledge.

Question: what is the distinction between code-switching and borrowing and why would this distinction be so important in the eyes of many researchers?

Wednesday, 17 January

Social factors influencing second language learning/acquisition

Language shift: the role of language policy and education


  • For a brief overview of social factors in SLA: http://esl.fis.edu/teachers/support/factors.htm
  • Myers-Scotton, C. Language Maintenance and Shift. Chapter 4 (pp 67-106) in Multiple Voices. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • De Swaan, A. 2001. Introduction. The Global Language System. Chapter 1 (pp 1-24) in World of Words. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Question: How are language shift and language policy related?

Thursday, 18 January

Language contact: social factors determine the outcome.

The emergence of pidgins, creoles and mixed languages


  • Wardhaugh, R. 1998. Pidgin and Creole Languages. Chapter 3 (pp 54-85) in An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Bakker, P and M. Mous. 1994. Introduction. In P. Bakker and M. Mous (eds.) Mixed Languages. 15 Studies in Language Intertwining.(pp 1-11). Amsterdam: IFOTT.

Question: how do the social circumstances leading to the emergence of mixed languages vs. pidgins and creoles differ from each other?

Friday, 19 January

Youth languages worldwide: polylanguaging, identity


  • Nortier, J. (2017) Language and Identity Practices among Western European Multilingual Youths. To appear in Language and Linguistics Compass. (not published yet)
  • Nortier, J. (2017) Youth Languages. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Youth Language, Graz, 2016. (not published yet)