Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Bilingualism: How It Shapes Our Minds

01:090:295:02 Index# 11087
Professor Liliana Sanchez, SAS - Spanish & Portuguese
M 01:10P - 02:30P
W 01:10P - 02:30P
Honors College, Rm S120
College Ave Campus


Course WILL count for major and minor credit in Spanish & Portuguese (For the course to count the Essay Must Be Written In Spanish)

Bilingualism is the norm rather than the exception. Two thirds of children worldwide grow up in bilingual or multilingual environments. World languages such as English, Spanish and Hindi have more second language speakers than first language speakers. Given its wide distribution across the globe, research has focused on how bilingualism shapes the human mind and our daily interactions. One theme of the seminar will be how bilinguals access words and generate sentences in their minds with a special focus on bilinguals’ ability to inhibit words from one language when speaking the other language and the implications of this practice for the development of cognitive advantages. Studies from different parts of the world with literate and illiterate bilingual populations will be discussed to disentangle the contribution of bilingualism and bi-literacy to cognitive advantages. A second theme of the seminar will be how bilinguals all over the world acquire the ability to use language in multiple contexts. We will focus on how this ability makes bilingual individuals, especially children, more flexible and capable of adopting multiple perspectives. Students with interest in linguistics, language acquisition, and bilingualism will deepen their understanding of the processes involved in activating two languages in childhood and adulthood. Students with interests in other areas will also learn how bilingualism interacts with the ability to shift perspectives and tasks. An essay is required. Attendance and active class participation will contribute to each student’s grade.

LILIANA SANCHEZ studied Linguistics at the University of Southern California. She has taught at Rutgers since 2001 and is a co-author of Bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking World (Cambridge University Press, 2015).