Foreigner talk : A seminar on language acquisition, variation, and change in a migrant context and the linguistic representations of Others
By Lisa J Walters, on 26 June 2017
Eszter Tarsoly, Senior Teaching Fellow in Hungarian Language
In his 1975 paper entitled Toward a Characterization of English Foreigner Talk, Charles Ferguson mentions three types of modified speech used in communities with speakers whose command of language is seen as lacking or inferior compared to an adult native speaker’s competence. The three types of modified speech are: ways of talking to deaf people, baby talk, and foreigner talk. Ferguson argued that by studying these modified ways of speaking we gain insights into such notions as “simple”, “basic”, and “deep”, which characterise general discourses of language. In addition, the study of baby talk has proven to be of value for understanding child-language development and the study of foreigner talk may contribute to analysing the process of pidginization, the development of new language varieties, and language change.