Linguistics Professor Shares Insights at National, International Conferences
Tej Bhatia is world-renowned expert on bilingualism, multiculturalism
Professor Tej K. Bhatia’s insights are being sought by colleagues in the field both nationally and internationally.
Bhatia, a professor of linguistics in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (LLL), has recently returned from Turkey, where he presented as a plenary speaker. He will return to that country to speak at a conference in December and will head to Chicago this spring as a featured speaker at a national conference.
Bhatia, who is director of South Asian Languages, which is housed in the LLL department and is also a part of the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs’ South Asia Center at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, participated in the 21st Conference of the International Association for World Englishes in Istanbul in early October.
The invitation to speak came after Bhatia suggested holding an informal research session on "Deception in Social Media" at the conference.
“The chair of the international committee wrote back to me asking if I was willing to give a plenary on the topic,” Bhatia says.
For his session, Bhatia presented “Deception in Social Media and Advertising: World Englishes and Forensic Linguistic Perspectives.” In an abstract on the topic, Bhatia writes: “In the age of social media and networking, deceptive advertising and social communication has taken on yet a new dimension. The anonymous aspect of social media and user-generated content has not only challenged the fundamental maxims of human communication (e.g. Gricean Conversational Maxims), but also brought about a qualitatively and quantitatively distinct pattern of deception in English usage world-wide.”
In the work, Bhatia examines recent research on deception, particularly information manipulation theory; extracts the linguistic markers of deception in traditional and social media advertising; presents types of deceptive advertising; and presents the implications of the negative impact of social advertising media, World Englishes (the variety of English and its various aspects of language, literature, and pedagogy), and forensic linguistics.
Exploring the topics further, Bhatia is currently under contract with Routledge (London) to write a book on language and advertising. In December, he will return to Turkey for the English Scholars Beyond Borders (ESBB) Conference/Symposium, hosted by Dokuz Eylül University School of Education in Izmir. ESBB is made up of international scholars dedicated to international exchange among academics.
“My talk will focus on English advertising—exploring the topic of targeting bilingual/multilingual consumers,” says Bhatia.
For the 45th annual National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) Conference, being held in Chicago in March, Bhatia has received unanimous approval by the association’s executive board to be a featured speaker. This year’s theme is “Advancing Biliteracy Through Global Leadership and Partnerships.”
“I was pleasantly surprised, indeed, as I have never delivered any paper in NABE, although I have published many works in bilingualism and multilingualism,” Bhatia says. “I was nominated by one of the board members. They received several nominations, and I was honored to be accepted.”
Bhatia will focus on the key issue of how to empower rural India, particularly farmers, in his presentation titled “Grassroots Trilingualism: Invisibilizing Transliteration and Visibilizing Linguistic Brokers in Pluralingual Speech Communities.”
“I will discuss particularly the emergence of rural new grassroots literacy in partnership with the new marketing models, such as Bottom of the Pyramid, and the Diffusion of Innovations model,” he says.
Bhatia is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation Award for excellence in research. He has published a number of books, articles, and book chapters in the areas of bilingualism, multiculturalism, media (advertising) discourse, socio- and psycho-linguistics, and the structure and typology of English and South Asian languages (particularly Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi).
His work has garnered a number of grants, including ones from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, American Council of Learned Societies, The Smithsonian Institution, Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad, and the Linguistic Society of America, among others.