Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition


The United States is a diverse nation, rapidly developing an expansive cultural and linguistic landscape driven by intense demographic shifts in its population. This talk will provide an introduction to bilingualism and second language acquisition in such an environment. Current research into bilingualism will be presented, and commonly held misconceptions discussed. Second language acquisition of non-native English speaking children in the United States will be highlighted, including issues dealing with heterogeneity of language skills, majority versus minority language status, supporting the native language, categorization as English proficient or not proficient, the simultaneous growth of bilingual language skills in girls compared to boys, and the academic implications of these issues.

Dr. Raul Rojas

Dr. Raul Rojas

Dr. Raul Rojas, Assistant Professor and Director of the Bilingual Language Laboratory, is a faculty member in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program within the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders. He received his PhD from Temple University in 2011.

As a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Dr. Rojas has provided bilingual (Spanish-English) SLP services in multiple settings, including public schools and early intervention. He co-developed the ability of Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT) to analyze samples of Spanish language.

Dr. Rojas' research focuses on child language from a longitudinal and processing perspective, specifically bilingual language development in typically developing and impaired children. Dr. Rojas is particularly interested in modeling the bilingual language growth of Spanish-speaking English Language Learners (ELLs) using longitudinal data, and in validating paradigms to index processing load and language learning skills in bilingual speakers.