A linguist’s foray into the ‘real world’: Why Dias Kadyrbayev was highly unlikely to understand his Miranda rights

Dr. Aneta Pavlenko
Professor of Applied Linguistics

Dr. Aneta Pavlenko Professor of Applied Linguistics

Written by Aneta Pavlenko, Temple University

We are often asked about the relevance of linguistics for the ‘real world’. On June 2, 2014, I got an opportunity to explain this relevance to the judge, the media, and the general public when I testified as an expert witness in the pre-trial hearing of a Kazakh national, Dias Kadyrbayev, friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnayev. The hearing was not about guilt or innocence. Its purpose was to determine whether Dias understood his Miranda rights – to remain silent, to request a lawyer, and to have a lawyer provided to him for free – and the consequences of waiving them. There were two complications: the . . . → Read More: A linguist’s foray into the ‘real world’: Why Dias Kadyrbayev was highly unlikely to understand his Miranda rights

Language-specific noun bias: evidence from bilingual children

Mother and Toddler

Post written by Dr. Lei Xuan and Dr. Christine Dollaghan based on an article in Journal of Child Language

Our research addressed questions about the kinds of words that appear in the early vocabularies of bilingual children.  Evidence from some languages, including English, has shown that young children acquire words for people and things before words that label actions and attributes or words that have grammatical functions. However, the hypothesis of a universal preference for nouns (i.e., a “noun bias”) in early lexical development has been challenged by studies suggesting that children acquiring languages such as Korean and Mandarin Chinese may show a weaker preference for nouns.

We used a unique research design to examine the extent of noun bias in 50 bilingual . . . → Read More: Language-specific noun bias: evidence from bilingual children

The best of Bilingualism: Read the journal editors’ pick of key articles for FREE

BIL 2014 cover image

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (BLC) is the international peer-reviewed journal focusing on bilingualism from a cognitive science perspective. Cambridge Journals are delighted to offer you free online access to the editors’ pick of recent influential articles from BLC. To access these articles, click on the titles below…

Innovative constructions in Dutch Turkish: An assessment of ongoing contact-induced change – A. Seza Doğruöz and Ad Backus

Dominant-language replacement: The case of international adoptees – Kenneth Hyltenstam et al.

Bilingual first-language development: Dominant language takeover, threatened minority language take-up – Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole and Enlli Môn Thomas

Past tense grammaticality judgment and production in non-native and stressed native English speakers – Janet L. McDonald and Cristine C. Roussel

Ambiguous words are harder to learn . . . → Read More: The best of Bilingualism: Read the journal editors’ pick of key articles for FREE

From Brain To Language To Accent

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Ping Li, editor of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, has been researching comparisons between the brains of native English speakers and Chinese speakers who are bilingual in English in the hopes of shedding more light on what differentiates and distinguishes someone who can easily pick up a new language from someone who struggles.

The research being carried out at Pennsylvania State University’s Brain, Language, and Computation Lab has been designed specifically to understand the relationships among language, brain, and culture. In particular, focusing on the dynamic changes that occur in the language learner and the dynamic interactions that occur in the competing language systems over the course of learning.

This research was recently picked up by CNN and makes for very informative and worthwhile reading.

 

 

Read the original article here . . . → Read More: From Brain To Language To Accent