Dr. Sue Dicker has been working on a project for three years; she is interested in documenting how New Yorkers who speak two languages—English and a native or heritage language—make use of these languages in their daily lives. Together with me (Francisco), she created an on-line survey. The first part of the survey asks participants to indicate how often they use their non-English language in various situations—at home, in their neighborhoods, at work, at school, etc. The second part of the survey has open-ended questions; here the participants may, if they wish, write narratives about their experiences using two languages. With this survey Dr. Dicker, who is a linguist as well as a professor of English, wishes to challenge the widely-accepted notions that immigrant languages disappear in two or three generations, and that Americans in general are assimilating to one common culture and one common language, the so-called “melting pot.”

If you are a bilingual New Yorker, you are invited to participate in this survey. Many of your students are also bilingual. Please add the link to the Blackboard of your classes:


We used Google Docs web form as an online questionnaire to gather the information. It is best known as an online space where users can create and share documents. Survey creation is a lesser-known, yet useful feature. Google Docs provides only one link to the questionnaire, and there are no built-in mechanisms to control who accesses the form or limitations on completing the survey more than once.
The steps to create a free Google Document are as follows::

Step One: Navigate to your Google Drive. In order to create a Google Doc, you’ll need to access your Google Drive. The only requisite to having a Google Drive is having a Google account.

Step Two: Create a Google Form. Click on the top left red button that reads “NEW”—this will allow you create a new Doc, Sheet, etc. Hover down to “More” and select “Google Form.” This will create a new Google Form and take you into the form editor.

Step Three: Customization Options. Within the Form you can change the Title, Design, Description, Questions, and Question
Step Four: Create Questions. To add a new question, click on the “Add Item” button at the top of the screen and select the desired type of question. Users can create “text” questions, “paragraph text” questions, “multiple choice” questions (requiring the selection of an answer among a row of choices), “checkboxes” questions, “choose from among a list” questions (requiring the selection of an answer among a list of possibilities), and “grid” questions (requiring answers to related individual questions on a pre-determined scale of possibilities).

Last Step: Sharing Out the Survey. Make sure the survey is live and accepting responses. Click “Responses” under the top menu. Once you’re sure your survey is live and ready to be shared, you have two options to share the survey with your group:

Simply share the link of the live survey to your group.
Click File > Send Form > and enter emails.


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