College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

Dr. Eve Higby: Who is a Native Speaker?

Dr. Eve Higby: Who is a Native Speaker?

Nov 16, 2017 12:00 PM to Nov 16, 2017 12:50 PM at Building 5-262

Please join the Department of English and Foreign Languages for a talk by Dr. Eve Higby, postdoctoral researcher in the department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who will discuss recent research on bilingualism that challenges the ideal of the monolingual speaker-hearer.

Much of linguistic theory has been built on linguistic structures used by native speakers. These data are then used to formulate rules that govern speakers' use of the language, which makes native speakers into the ideal speaker-hearers of that language. Deviations from this ideal are often assumed to be performance limitations rather than individual variability in linguistic knowledge. However, recent research has challenged this way of seeing native speakers by documenting how bilinguals use the native language (L1) differently from monolinguals, due to the influence of the second language (L2). Because traditional linguistic frameworks do not easily account for this type of variability, bilinguals are either considered to be a special population or their bilingual status is ignored. Dr. Higby will present new findings of the effects of the L2 on the L1, which require that we reconsider our definition of the native speaker, how bilinguals fit into that definition, and how bilingual data help us to reconsider the ways in which linguistic theories can account for community-wide as well as individual variation.

In addition to her work at UCR, Dr. Higby has received two awards from the National Science Foundation, as well as a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of California. She studied Spanish, Linguistics, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Florida International University and received her Ph.D. from the City University of New York Graduate Center in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences. Her work focuses on language and cognitive processes in bilingualism and aging and on how language experience affects brain structure and function. She is currently working on the 2nd edition of the book Language and the Brain. A list of her papers can be found on her website, evehigby.com.

All are welcome to this event, and refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Dr. Amàlia Llombart at allombart@cpp.edu.