Plugs for language/linguistics books

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I have recently read three books that I really enjoyed.

Annick De Houwer (2009). Bilingual First Language Acquisition.  Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Silvina Montrul. (2008). Incomplete acquisition in bilingualism: Re-examining the age factor . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Norma Mendoza-Denton. (2008) Homegirls.  Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.  

Read my gushings here.

Annick De Houwer (2009). Bilingual First Language Acquisition.  Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

This is very accessible for non-experts on BFLA, myself included. It provides a thorough overview of the field and suggests original research articles on specific topics for more advanced students. Thus it is a highly reader-friendly text, useful for both undergraduates and graduate students. As a parent raising BFLA children, I also appreciated the reminder about the importance of "monolingual discourse strategies" and found myself with renewed enthusiasm to stick to them.

 

Silvina Montrul . (2008). Incomplete acquisition in bilingualism: Re-examining the age factor . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Silvina Montrul is a rock star, and this is her greatest hits, plus her most recent work about heritage speaker grammar systems. While this volume requires more linguistic background than would be comfortable for most undergraduates, the writing and argumentation are extremely clear. She rigorously reviews related work in the field and proposes her own conclusions and "suspicions" about attrition and acquisition. Despite the book's price tag, I have made this required reading in my current seminar on Second Language Acquisition & Bilingualism.

 

Norma Mendoza-Denton. (2008) Homegirls.  Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

I had the same reaction while reading Homegirls as I did 10 years ago reading Ana Celia Zentella's Growing up bilingual : "Damn, I want to write something like this when I grow up." You can't put this book down, either as an armchair sociologist or as a linguist. It documents tensions between two rival Northern California gangs, the norteños and the sureños, framing their conflicts within larger discourses of race, class, and nation. Specifically focusing on girl gang members, Mendoza-Denton analyzes their use of Spanish and English features (including phonology and discourse markers) to mark identities and shifting styles in performances of macha-ness and as core or peripheral gang members. I am convinced that it's impossible for anyone besides Norma (as we began to refer to her in my research methods class) to have gathered this rich range of data, and as far as I can tell, the acoustic and variation analyses are rigorous. This ethnography-plus-quantified-data combines the very best of both research approaches.