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Dr. Rakesh Mohan Bhatt

Associate Head, Admissions Director, Professor of Linguistics; Professor of Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education; Professor of LAS Global Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Spanish and Portuguese; Affiliated Faculty, Center for Global Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

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Rakesh M. Bhatt received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois. He is now Professor of Linguistics and SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education) at the University of Illinois. He is a former director of the Program in SLATE and associate director of the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois. He specializes in sociolinguistics of language contact, in particular, issues of migration, minorities and multilingualism, code-switching, language ideology, and world Englishes. The empirical focus of his work has been on South Asian languages; particularly, Kashmiri, Hindi, and Indian English. His study, Verb Movement and the Syntax of Kashmiri (1999, Kluwer Academic Press), was published in the prestigious series, Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. He has also co-authored another book, World Englishes (2008, Cambridge University Press). He is the author of essays in the Journal of Sociolinguistics, Annual Review of Anthropology, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Lingua, World Englishes, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Second Language Research, English Language and Linguistics and other venues. Heis working on a book-length manuscript, under contract with CambridgeUniversity Press, on the sociolinguistic patterns of subordination ofKashmiri language in Diaspora.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

Applied Linguistics: Migration, Minorities, and Multilingualism, Language Ideology, Planning, Maintenance and Shift, World Englishes; Language Learning, Teaching, and Use of Second/Non-native Languages, Heritage Language Acquisition and Use, Formal Linguistics: Indo-Aryan Syntax, Syntax of Language Contact and Language Variation,

Research Description

  • Research Interests

    Applied Linguistics:

    •  Migration, Minorities, and Multilingualism

    •  Language Contact and Code-switching

    •  Language Ideology, Planning, Maintenance and Shift

    •  World Englishes

    •  Heritage Language Acquisition and Use


    Indo-Aryan SyntaxSyntax of Language Contact and Language Variation

    Current Projects

    Language Contact in DiasporaSociolinguistic Grammars of Bilingual Language Use



    (Forthcoming)  Language in Diaspora. Under contract, Cambridge University Press. (2008) World Englishes: The Study of New Linguistic Varieties, Cambridge University Press (with R.Mesthrie). (1999) Verb Movement and the Syntax of Kashmiri, Kluwer Academic Press.

    Selected Recent Book Chapters and Journal Articles

    ForthcomingDifferential Object Marking in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian as heritage languages Language.  (with S. Montrul and R. Girju)World Englishes and language ideologies.  In M. Filppula, J. Klemola, and D. Sharma (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of World Englishes.  New York: Oxford University Press.


    Argument Licensing in Optimal Switches. In Jeff MacSwan (ed.) Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Code-switching.  Cambridge. Mass.: MIT Press.


    Optimization in bilingual language use.  Response to Pieter Muysken’s keynote article: Language contact outcomes as a result of bilingual optimization strategies.  Bilingualism: Language & Cognition16.4, 740-742.


    Erosion of case and agreement in Hindi heritage speakers. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 2.2, 141-176.  (with Silvina Montrul and Archana Bhatia) 2011Code-switching and the optimal grammar of bilingual language use.  Bilingualism: Language and Cognition14.4, 1-25. (with A. Bolonyai)


  • Ph.D. Linguistics, specialization in Syntax, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1994
  • M.A. Linguistics; specialization in Sociolinguistics, University of Pittsburgh, 1987

Distinctions / Awards

  • NSF Grant # 0917593 Differential Object Marking in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian Heritage Speakers (co-PI with Silvina Montrul [PI], Roxana Girju [Co-PI])
  • Center for Advanced Study Associate Award, AY 2010/2011
  • American Institute of Indian Studies' Senior Short Term Research Fellowship 2004


  • NSF 3-year grant on Heritage Language grammars


  • Introduction to Sopciolinguistics (Ling 450)
  • Language in Globalization (Ling 111)
  • Ling 400: Introduction to Linguistics
  • Ling 560: Seminar on Bilingualism
  • Ling 587: Code-switching: Form and Function
  • Ling 555: Sociolinguistics of World Englishes



  • Bhatt, Rakesh M. Language in Diaspora. Forthcoming: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Bhatt, R., and R. Mestherie. World Englishes: The Study of New Linguistic Varieties. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Verb Movement and the Syntax of Kashmiri. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999.

Book Contributions

  • Bhatt, Rakesh M. "World Englishes and language ideologies ." The Oxford Handbook of World Englishes. Comp. J. Klemola and D. Sharma. Ed. M. FIlpulla. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Bhatt, Rakesh M. "Argument Licensing in Optimal Switches." Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Code-switching. Ed. Jeff Macswan. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.
  • Bhatt, Rakesh M. "Unraveling Postcolonial Identities through Language." Handbook of Language and Globalization. Ed. Nikolas Coupland. Oxford: Blackwell, 2010.

Journal Articles

  • Montrul, S., R. Bhatt, and R. Girju. "Differential Object Marking in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian as heritage languages." Language 91.3 (2015):
  • Bhatt, R.. "Optimization in bilingual language use. Response to Pieter Muysken’s keynote article: Language contact outcomes as a result of bilingual optimization strategies.." Bilingualism: Language & Cognition 16.4 (2013): 740-742.
  • Montrul, Silvina, Rakesh Bhatt, and Archana Bhatia. "Erosion of case and agreement in Hindi heritage speakers." Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 2.2 (2012): 147-176.
  • Bhatt, R., and A. Bolonyai. "Code-switching and the optimal grammar of bilingual language use." Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 14.4 (2011): 1-25.
  • Bhatt, Rakesh. "In Other Words: Language Mixing, Identity Representations, and Third Space.." Journal of Sociolinguistics 12.2 (2008): 177-220.