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Empirical Methods in Language Studies

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Edited By Krzysztof Kosecki and Janusz Badio

«Empirical Methods in Language Studies» presents 22 papers employing a broad range of empirical methods in the analysis of various aspects of language and communication. The individual texts offer contributions to the description of conceptual strategies, syntax, semantics, non-verbal communication, language learning, discourse, and literature.
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Second language acquisition in the canton of Zurich: the Swiss are fond of English

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Abstract: The paper addresses the multilingual policy of the Swiss in the canton of Zurich with reference to the partner-language model offered by their educational system. The outlined case study of Zurich builds on the theoretical assumptions of contact linguistics and macro sociolinguistics, notably the sociology of language introduced by Joshua Fishman (1972, 1997). The paper will present a relevant part of the collected material together with conclusions that formed a bigger CATI survey carried out in the canton of Zurich in 2011. The collected interviews, based on a questionnaire, have made it possible to outline the language repertoires of the Swiss, as well as their opinions and attitudes towards English and its acquisition. The results from the survey reveal language behaviour in a multilingual context marked by the presence of a global language.

Keywords: multilingualism, Switzerland, language policy, telephone interviews, language attitudes.

1. Multilingual policy: an outline

Language policy is a broad term that refers to the decisions about language rights and access to languages, including the roles and functions of languages and their varieties in individual countries (Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas, 1996). The Swiss language policy, in particular, seeks to solve communication problems by providing support for linguistic pluralism (Blount and Sanches, 1977; Daoust, 1997). The system of education is decentralized and, thus, differs from canton to canton. All cantons share the federative obligation of a second official language teaching (Schmid, 2001). The idea is that every Swiss should have an...

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