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William C. Ritchie

William C. Ritchie

Professor Emeritus, Linguistics
Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Research and Teaching Interests

Professor Ritchie specializes in the study of adult second language acquisition and the theoretical analysis of language mixing in bilinguals and multilinguals. He is particularly interested in the conceptual basis of the theory of adult second language acquisition and in the formulation of the problem of the reduction in the capacity for second language acquisition that occurs between childhood and adulthood. In addition, he has worked on the problem of providing a syntactic- theoretical account for the formal properties of intrasentential code-switching in bilinguals. He teaches two introductory lower-division general education courses – one a general intro9duiction to language and the other focusing on the structure history and social function of the languages spoken in each of six major geographical regions of the world. In addition, he teaches two graduate courses on second language acquisition; one of these is a general introduction to the field and the other focuses on research on second language phenomena conducted within the framework of generative grammar.


LIN 201 The Nature and Study of Language

LIN 202 Languages of the World

LIN 591 Second Language Acquisition

LIN 491/691 Universal Grammar and Second Language Acquisition


Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Michigan (1969)

M.A., Linguistics, University of Michigan (1964)

B.A., Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan (1962)


Associate Professor of Linguistics, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. Syracuse University, 1978-present.

Undergraduate and General Graduate Advisor, Linguistic Studies Program, Syracuse University, 2000-present.

Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Syracuse University, 1974-1978.

Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, Syracuse University, 1969-1974.

Books (edited)


First Book  

(to be co-edited with Tej K. Bhatia) The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Publication due late 2011. Approximate pp. 800.

In Print 

First Book  

(co-edited with Tej K. Bhatia) The New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition, Second Edition. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group, 2009. Pp. xxvii, 716.

Second Book

(co-edited with T. K. Bhatia). Handbook of Bilingualism. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004/2005. Pp. xvii, 884.

First Book  

(co-edited with T. K. Bhatia). Handbook of Child Language Acquisition. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1999. Pp. xxii,  739.


Second Book

(co-edited with Tej K. Bhatia), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1996. Pp.  xxv, 758.

Book Chapters

(with Tej K. Bhatia). Psycholinguistics. In B. Spolsky and F. Hult (Eds.) The Handbook of Educational Linguistics. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. 2008. pp. 38-52.

(with Tej K. Bhatia) Language mixing, typology, and second language acquisition. In P. Bhaskararao and K. Subbarao (Eds.) South Asian Languages: Contact, Convergence, and Typology. London/Delhi: Sage. 2001. pp. 37-62.

Recent Journal Article

(with Tej K. Bhatia), The bilingual mind and linguistic creativity. Journal of Creative Communication, 3:1 (2008), 5-21.

Encyclopedia Entry

Forthcoming: “Bilingualism.” In Peter Robinson (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Second Language Acquisition. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.