Language in Immigrant America
Discussion of issues of language in the context of immigration in the United States, from the turn of the 20th century until the present, combining approaches from literature, memoirs, language policy, media studies, and linguistic anthropology. Some fieldwork in an immigrant community. Topics include: identity, assimilation, race, bilingual communities, bilingual education, foreign accents, language contact.
About the Professor:
My main research interests lie in the area of language, identity, and migration. I am particularly interested in how migrant identities are formed and enacted through discourse and linguistic practices, such as code-switching and translanguaging. My recent book, Language in Immigrant America, is an interdisciplinary examination of language as a site for the contestation of the meanings of “immigrant” and “American” identities, and argues that these two categories have always been overlapping, conflicting, fluid, and mutually constitutive, as well as formed in the context of multilingualism - and not, as is often assumed, English monolingualism - as the American sociocultural reality since the earliest European settlements.
My current project focuses on narratives of migration and belonging among former fellow refugees, and on narratives and discourse on social media. My other interests include language and emotion, specifically the experience of living "in a second language" and of translating the self, and the development and use of hybrid language varieties such as Spanglish. I am also continuing my earlier work, building on my PhD research, on the sociolinguistics of Taiwan Mandarin.
Education & Training
Ph.D., Harvard University 2007
M.A., Harvard University 1999
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