Laidlaw Research Project Proposal

An investigation into how bilingual language use in different contexts relates to language proficiency.

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An investigation into how bilingual language use in
different contexts relates to language proficiency.

Language is the essence of communication and over half of the world’s population can communicate using more than one language (Grosjean, 2010). This demonstrates the need to better understand the psychological and cognitive mechanisms underlying bilingual communication. Individual differences between bilinguals are commonly assessed using measures of language proficiency, however there is a lack of focus on how bilinguals use their languages day-to-day. To gain a better understanding of daily-life language use, I propose using existing assessments to measure daily-life language use and its relationship with language proficiency in UK-based bilinguals.
This research project aims to study how bilinguals use language in different contexts, conversational topics, and social settings. Recently, an assessment has been developed to measure bilingual experiences (Language and Social Background Questionnaire, LSBQ, (Anderson et al., 2018)). However, this questionnaire has not been validated outside of Canada. Subsequently I have generated two aims: 1) To investigate how the LSBQ functions within different populations (in this case, the UK). I will analyse the data to investigate how  language-use patterns can be classified, and to determine to what extent these patterns are comparable across bilinguals. 2) To investigate how varying aspects of language use relate to proficiency. This will be done by correlating language-use scores in different contexts (measured in the LSBQ) and objective language-proficiency scores tested by the LexTALE (www.lextale.com).

Aaron Mann

Student, University of York

I am a second year MSci. student studying Clinical Psychology at the University of York. My main experience involves charity work, fundraising, promoting mental health awareness and research into Neuroscience & Linguistics. My main area of research is on language, language in society and communication. I am also interested in Forensic Psychology, Clinical Neuroscience and Cognition. I look forward to using this platform to network and grow my understanding of a variety of other subjects, from any field there is to offer.