The presentation, “Is there a deficit framing of late-timed bilingualism in published research? An empirical look,” reported the results of a corpus-based discourse analysis of more than 1,200 journal articles published in the field of applied linguistics from 2005-2015. The study examined instances of the keyword “learners” and its co-occurrence with words related to ability, difficulty, success and failure. Ample support was found for the claim that late-starting bilinguals are frequently characterized in research publications as deficient language users who inevitably fall short of idealized, monolingual native speaker norms. The findings raise validity and ethical concerns within the field of applied linguistics, as a monolingual bias serves to erase individuals’ bilingualism and to characterize multiple language competencies acquired later in life as somehow less complex or less pure than single language competencies acquired in childhood.
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Casey Keck presented a paper with Lourdes Ortega, a linguistics professor from Georgetown University, at the International Symposium on Bilingualism at the University of Limerick, Ireland.