Davidson colloquium

October 23, 2022

The 2022-2023 colloquium series continues on Monday, November 7, with a talk by our colleague Justin Davidson (UC Berkeley), taking place in Dwinelle 370 and on Zoom from 3:10-5pm. His talk is entitled "Legitimizing non-nativeness: Language contact in Barcelona and the California Bay Area," and the abstract is as follows:

Like many subfields of Linguistics, research and theory from Variationist Sociolinguistics traditionally focused on the speech of monolingual English communities, leading to continued calls to expand the scope to non-Anglo and/or multilingual communities (Bayley and Preston 1996; Bayley, Preston, and Li 2022). A shift, minimally, from an idealized monolingual speaker to a multilingual speaker, would better align linguistic theory with the reality of human experience in that only a minority of people live their entire life with exposure to (and/or use of) exclusively one language. Nevertheless, research on multilinguals and multilingualism begets a series of important questions that inform linguistic theory and the methodologies we incorporate in our research: Who is and who isn't multilingual? At what point does a learner of a second language become a full-fledged speaker of that language? What are the consequences of using native and/or monolingual speaker speech norms as benchmarks for multilingual speech phenomena?

In order to begin answering these and other questions pertaining to multilingualism, in this talk I present findings from a pair of sociophonetic investigations carried out in two Spanish-speaking bilingual communities distinguished, among other factors, by the sociopolitical status of Spanish: Barcelona, Spain and the California Bay Area. In spite of considerable diversity in language dominance, I aim to show, respectively in each community, how variation in the production of the alveolar lateral /l/ or orthographic <b/v> evidences dynamic and full participation in community-wide, sociolinguistically-conditioned speech norms. These findings ultimately support the continued broadening of linguistics research to include a wider range of speakers, and furthermore crucially serve to legitimize the speech of non-native speakers.