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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
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese
Center for Global Studies
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, Formal Linguistics: Indo-Aryan Syntax, Xyntax 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


  • NSF 3-year grant on Heritage Language grammars


  • Introduction to Sopciolinguistics (Ling 450)
  • Language in Globalization (Ling 111)

Works in Progress



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

Journal Articles

  • Bhatt, R., S. Montrul, and R. Girju. "Differential Object Marking in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian as heritage languages." Language (2014):
  • 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.
  • Bhatt, Rakesh, Silvina Montrul, 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.