Language & Culture in Society
Although there are psycholinguistic characteristics that all humans share, language learning and teaching is always embedded in cultural and social structures. Languages die out, their uses in a speech community shift over time, and new languages emerge. An individual may lose or gain fluency in a language, or several languages, over their lifetime.
These events are rarely because of conscious individual choice. Implicit or explicit language policies shape individual language use. The prestige or stigma attached to a particular language in a society will usually reflect power hierarchies in that society. Globalization creates demand for fluency in some of the dominant world languages, while at the same time it opens up opportunities for speakers of small languages to communicate easily over distances and use technologies to maintain or revitalize their languages
To learn more about CAL's work and resources about this topic, browse the subtopics within this section.
The Center for Applied Linguistics supports the Linguistic Society of America and its Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) to raise awareness within Congress about the importance of Native American Language Revitalization.
CAL partnered with the Education Development Center (EDC) on a USAID-funded project to improve access to primary education, especially literacy learning, for children in Ghana. The project, Education Quality for All (EQUALL), operated in 20 districts.
Made for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and for DVD release, Do You Speak American? takes viewers on a journey through the United States, exploring how the language we use can define us, unite us, or separate us.
This book describes dialect differences in American English, explores the impact in education and daily life for dialect speakers, and outlines issues facing educational practitioners working with these students.
This publication traces the distant and recent history of the Ebonics debate in the United States, with leading scholars placing the debate within its historical and contemporary context.
In this revised and updated edition, the author takes a fresh look at the differences between native and nonnative speakers of English in the United States in terms of their literacy performance and educational achievement. He also discusses the social and educational policy debates that surround literacy in the 21st century.
This publication features the work of widely recognized scholars in the field of sociolinguistics, brought together to honor the long and productive career of Walt Wolfram, a founder of the field and a strong believer in linking high-quality research to meaningful application.
News & Events
People who cannot hear process sign language in the same area of the brain associated with spoken language, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A small-scale study found that instruction in musical instruments can help develop nonmusical verbal skills.
Scientists studying babblers say the birds' ability to rearrange sounds during their calls to convey messages might lead to understanding how the phonemic system of human language formed.
With language skills becoming ever more important, the author looks at whether there is a genetic component to language learning ability.
In a new paper, two linguists examine the workings of 'yes' and 'no' and show that understanding them leads to new insights concerning the understanding of questions and statements more generally.