The Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning (CCERBAL), “the Centre,” plays a key role in realizing the research mandate of the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI), which is to promote theoretical and methodological advancement in the field of bilingualism studies. It develops and disseminates knowledge, nationally and internationally, in its three research areas:
- second/foreign language learning, teaching and testing;
- linguistic and social aspects of individual and societal bilingualism; and
- language policy and planning, and the politics of language.
Although those three areas may include research related to all languages, the Centre focuses more particularly on research involving the two constitutionally recognized official languages of Canada, English and French, as well as other languages that have official status in the provinces and territories of Canada.
In addition to its three principal fields of research interest, the Centre fosters and facilitates the dissemination of research on a number of important issues related to linguistics, language acquisition and language use. Questions in sociolinguistics related to linguistic variation and change, such as language contact, code switching, language borrowing and linguistic vitality, are important areas for investigation, particularly on a bilingual campus in a bilingual city such as Ottawa. Translation and interpretation within the Canadian context are also areas of interest given Canada’s history, which is marked by trans-cultural communications requiring these skills – with First Nations people, among settlers of different backgrounds, between French and English at many different levels, and with regard to waves of new immigration from all over the world.
To carry out this mandate, CCERBAL has established two research chairs:
- University Research Chair on Bilingualism and Society;
- University Chair in New Technologies and Computer Assisted Language Learning.
The Centre also has four research groups in its members’ main areas of expertise: