Bilingualism and Code Switching


I. Why (purpose)

You will demonstrate your learning from one person’s story on their experiences (and beliefs) with regard to a particular language (their native language, American English language, and possibly other languages in the US) and/or the person’s relationship to speakers of these languages. You will also demonstrate the concepts of Bilingualism and Code switching by interpreting this person’s experience. Also, this paper need two article to support your idea.

II. Who?

The person you interview should be a native speaker of a language that you don’t speak. The person should have resided in the US long enough to have experienced the benefits and challenges of living here (at least 5 years). The person you interview could be your friend, a family member, a co-worker, a fellow student, or a stranger, as long as you yourself are not a speaker of that person’s native language.

III. How

Develop a set of 8-10 interview questions based on the concepts about Bilingualism and Code switching. For example, you could focus on identity, bilingualism, the maintenance (or loss) of immigrant languages; pressures this person experiences to either keep or stop using the language; discrimination or support the person has experienced; domains in which the language is used, and so on. On the 3-4 topics that your interviewee shows strong interest, ask follow up questions to get more details. If possible, solicit an episode that illustrate each point.

IV. Research ethics

Tell your interviewee that you will not use his or her real name (unless he/she specifically wants you to!), and that this interview is for the purpose of a class assignment. Tell him/her approximately how long it will take. The interview results will not be reported in any public venue such as a book or media show. Make sure the person gives oral or written consent to be interviewed. If the person is under 18, you must get written parental consent.

V. Conducting the interview

Plan for about 30 – 45 minutes, conducted face-to-face. You should audio-record the interview (most cell phones have recording capability these days. Be sure to check beforehand that your equipment works and that you have enough battery. Many great interviews have been foiled by equipment problems! Find a quiet place for the interview.

VI. Analyzing the interview

First review your recording, making notes on key themes that you plan to focus on in your paper, and identifying the time code for key quotes that you want to use in the paper. Then start drafting the paper, creating a preliminary organization according to themes that were interesting to you. You may have to listen to the audio several times more to fill in details. You must include at least four quotations from your interviewee to ensure the authenticity of your description. You do not have to transcribe every word the person says in the whole interview. If there are gaps that you wish you had asked about but didn’t, you can follow up by email, phone call, texting, or whatever works.

VII. Integrating sources

You must include at least 2 article. The article should help you articulate how your interviewee’s experience/belief exemplifies broader patterns that are present in our society. You might also find how your interviewee’s case challenges the pattern/concepts presented in the scholarly works.

VIII. Paper Format

Up to 4 pages (1000-1200 words in the main text), 12-point font, double-spaced, with the interview questions in an appendix (not part of the word count).

IX. How to organize the paper

1. Introduction—Topic, Purpose, Organization, and Thesis

· Introduce the general topic (see Section III above—pick one topic) and significance of this topic (“hook”—importance, puzzle, controversy, etc.)

· Introduce the interviewee with minimum background information

· my uncle, who was born in Germany and came to the US when he was 32;

· my classmate, who is an international student from Mexico; etc.

· Say why you chose this person to interview (link to your topic—see Section III above.)

· I wanted to ask him about maintenance or loss of his heritage language;

· I wanted to know about her experiences in learning English; etc.

· Explain two to three specific areas explored, which are all connected to your general topic.

· Our interview focused on local German community, language use at home, and …

· My interviewee shared with me some of the challenges she had and …

· State your claim on the topic; that is, what your interviewee’s experiences show on this topic. This is your paper’s thesis statement.

2. Body paragraphs—Background, Data, Analyses, and Results

· In the first body paragraph, present your interviewee’s background with only relevant details.

· In each of the next 2-3 body paragraphs, make 2-3 points (sub-claims) based on your interview and reading. In doing so, first present a narrative from the interview using key quotes and paraphrases. Then explain how your interviewee’s story exemplifies (or presents a counter example of) a general pattern (a key concept) presented in the reading. Be sure to use proper in- text citations when presenting concepts and explanations from readings, and include full citation information at the end of your paper.

3. Conclusion—Summary, Conclusion, Limitation, and Implication

· Summarize your findings gained from interview.

· In the light of your findings, state your conclusion on the topic. (This is a re-statement of your

· thesis, but in more specific wording.)

· Offer a brief mention on limitation of the methodology (i.e., interview of a single person).

· End your essay with a brief remark on how your conclusion may be applied to your future or to the society we live in.

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