We are very excited to share with you this Winter/Spring 2018 issue of our Bilingualism Matters newsletter. For this issue, we’ve selected the theme “Languages in Pennsylvania”. This theme might sound a bit curious at first. After all, what does language in Pennsylvania have to do with bi- and multilingualism? What we aim to demonstrate with this newsletter is that, in fact, Pennsylvania, and places in the U.S. where mainly English is spoken, are rich with linguistic diversity. We’ve included a linguistic landscape of Pennsylvania to illustrate how there are actually many speakers of other languages here, most especially in the southeast portion of the state. But this linguistic diversity is not limited to just languages other than English. Language scientist Grant Berry shows you his English vowels, and discusses how vowel systems in natural language differ, not only by region, but also by individual. We also delve into the etymology of place names in Pennsylvania, many of which can be traced back to the languages of PA’s first inhabitants.
We designed this newsletter to show how, even in places where English is the primary language, linguistic diversity surrounds us. From a language science perspective, this diversity is something to celebrate, as it presents us with a never ending stream of interesting questions to investigate. We hope that as you read you’ll be inspired to ask your own questions, and perhaps even gain a few insights into the topics we touch upon. As always, we welcome your thoughts, questions, and ideas, and we look forward to continuing the dialog!
The Editors (Frances, Annie, Grant, Lindsey, and Isabel)