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Conny Opitz
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Russian

Biography

I teach Russian language and culture, linguistics and translation studies at the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies. I previously held the positions of Thomas Brown Lecturer in Russian (TCD, 1998-2001) and East German Lektor (DCU, 1995-1998), and have also lectured in foreign language pedagogy (Mary Immaculate College, 2013). My first degree (roughly equivalent to an MA) was in translation with German, Russian and English, and my degree-level thesis (Leipzig University, 1998) was a process-oriented study of translation into L2 German. I earned my PhD in Applied Linguistics from TCD (2011) for my study of L1 attrition and L2 acquisition in German adult bilinguals in Ireland. My current research investigates adult multilingual development of various populations (ab initio language learners, professional language users) from a complex dynamic systems perspective. In 2013, I co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Bilingualism entitled Dynamics of First Language Attrition across the Lifespan (with Esther de Leeuw and Dorota Lubińska), as well as a volume entitled Negotiating Linguistic, Cultural and Social Identities in the Russian World (with Sarah Smyth; Peter Lang). I recently won a Trinity Long Room Hub Research Incentive Grant to conduct a meta-study of multilingual identity development in adult migrants. My administrative duties include postgraduate supervision, team coordination of the school-wide Peer-learning programme, and the management of some elements of the departmental outreach programme. I serve on the executive boards of three national associations (Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies (IARCEES, President 2015-), Irish Association of Applied Linguistics (IRAAL) and One Voice for Languages (OVLF)).

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Language destabilization and (re-)learning from a CT perspective: Timescales and patterns across four studies in, editor(s)Lourdes Ortega ZhaoHong Han , Complexity Theory and Language Development: In Celebration of Diane Larsen-Freeman, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, [Conny Opitz] Book Chapter,

Personal background factors in L1 attrition - a CDST perspective in, editor(s)Monika Schmid Barbara Köpke , ). Handbook of Language Attrition, Oxford, Oxford University Press, [Conny Opitz] Book Chapter,

Conny Opitz, Little to Lose and Everything to Gain: L1 Maintenance and L2 Attainment in Long-Term Migrants, CALL: Irish Journal for Culture, Arts, Literature and Language, 1, (1), 2016, pArticle 5- Journal Article, 2016 DOI URL

Opitz, C., Learner language destabilization and relearning: Complex patterns?, AAAL, Toronto, 21-24 March 2015, 2015 Conference Paper, 2015

Opitz, Conny, A Dynamic Perspective on Late Bilinguals' Linguistic Development in an L2 Environment., International Journal of Bilingualism, 17, (6), 2013, p701-715 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Smyth, Sarah & Conny Opitz, Negotiating Linguistic, Cultural and Social Identities in the Russian World., Bern, Peter Lang, 2013, 1 - 339pp Book, 2013 DOI

Conny Opitz, What CDST Can and Can't Tell us about Attrition, 3rd ICLA, Colchester, 5-7 July 2016, 2016 Conference Paper, 2016

Conny Opitz, Sarah Smyth, Ab initio Language Learning and the Summer Break, 3rd ICLA, Colchester, 5-7 July 2016, 2016 Conference Paper, 2016

de Leeuw, Esther, Opitz, Conny & Dorota Lubińska, Dynamics of first language attrition across the lifespan. Introduction, International Journal of Bilingualism, 17, (6), 2013, p667-674 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

International Journal of Bilingualism, 17, 6, (2013), 667 - 756p, Opitz, Conny, de Leeuw, Esther & Dorota Lubińska, [eds] Journal, 2013 DOI URL

Opitz, Conny; Smyth, Sarah, "Dear diary" - L2 proficiency development through diary writing, AILA, Brisbane, 10-15 August 2014, 2014 Conference Paper, 2014

Irish Slavonic Studies, 24, (2013), 1 - 64p, Robinson, Neil & Conny Opitz, [eds] Journal, 2013 DOI

Opitz, Conny, First language attrition and second language acquisition in a second language environment, Trinity College Dublin, 2011 Thesis, 2011

Opitz, Conny; Smyth, Sarah, Developing Students' Language Proficiency through Self-Directed Collaborative Learning, AATSEEL Newsletter, 53, (2), 2010, p14 - 15 Journal Article, 2010

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition and L2 Acquisition: Global Language Proficiency and Language Dominance in Adult Bilinguals, 2010 Journal Article, 2010

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition in Adult Bilinguals in the Context of L2 Acquisition, International Journal of Bilingualism, 8, (3), 2005, p395-398 Journal Article, 2005

Zum Aufschlusswert prozesswissenschaftlicher Untersuchungen für die Übersetzungsdidaktik in, editor(s)Fleischmann, E. Schmitt, P. A. Wotjak, G. , Translationskompetenz. Tagungsberichte der LICTRA (Leipzig International Conference on Translation Studies) 4.-6.10.2001, Tübingen, Stauffenberg, 2004, pp659-677 , [Opitz, Conny] Book Chapter, 2004

Opitz, Conny, Dynamics of L2 Development in an ab initio Learner of Russian, EUROSLA 23, 28-31 August 2013, 2013 Conference Paper, 2013

Opitz, Conny, Authentic Language in ab-initio Language Learning, 5th AILA-Europe Junior Researcher Meeting in Applied Linguistics, Dublin, 18-20 June 2013, 2013 Conference Paper, 2013

Opitz, Conny, Change and stability in adult L1 and L2 development: A longitudinal pilot case study, Eurosla 22, Poznañ, 5-8 September 2012, 2012 Conference Paper, 2012

Opitz, Conny, The Impact of Long-term Residence Abroad on the L1 and L2 Proficiency of Adult Bilinguals, Modern Languages Symposium 2011, "Language, Migration and Diaspora", Dublin, 2-3 Dec 2011, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Opitz, Conny, A Dynamic Perspective on Late Bilinguals' Linguistic Development in an L2 Environment, ISB8, Oslo, 15-18/06/2011, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Opitz, Conny, The Role of Linguistic Aptitude and Language Use for Adult L2 Acquisition and L1 Attrition, ISB7, Utrecht, 2009, 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition in Adult Bilinguals: The Impact of L2 Proficiency, Language Use and Linguistic Aptitude, AILA, Essen, 24th-29th Aug 2008, 2008 Conference Paper, 2008

Opitz, Conny, Measures of L1 Attrition: Global Language Proficiency and Language Dominance in Adult Bilinguals, Eurosla 17, Newcastle, 2007, 2007 Conference Paper, 2007

Opitz, Conny, Trade-offs between language proficiencies as a cause of L1 attrition, ICFLA, Amsterdam, 2005, 2005 Conference Paper, 2005 URL

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition and L2 Acquisition - The Impact of L2 Proficiency on L1, EUROSLA, Edinburgh, 2003, 2003 Conference Paper, 2003

Opitz, Conny, Fremdsprachliche Kompetenz und Muttersprachverlust in Migrationskontexten, GAL Annual Conference, Wuppertal, 2004, 2004 Conference Paper, 2004

Carson, Lorna; Riordan, Emma; Ruane, Mary; Rose, Heath; Opitz, Conny; Flynn, Colin: Ó hIfearnáin, Tadhg; Murtagh, Lelia; Sheekey, Peter; Murphy, Deirdre; Do, Eun Jun, 5th AILA-Europe Junior Research Meeting in Applied Linguistics, 18-20 June 2013, 2013, Dublin Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2013

Opitz, C., Complex Dynamic Systems Theory and Applied Linguistics, IRAAL: Forward Thinking in Applied Linguistics, Dublin, 21 November 2015, 2015 Conference Paper, 2015

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Marie-Therese Batardiere (UL), Anne Brindley (GMIT), Kristin Brogan (IT Tralee), Frances Carr (The Old Schoolhouse Montessori School), Ann Devitt (TCD), Tanya Flanagan (St Farnan's, Co. Kildare), Aine Furlong (WIT), Barbara Geraghty (UL), Mary Ann Kenny (IT Blanchardstown), Deirdre Kirwan (Scoil Bhride, Dublin), Agnieszka Matys (Polska Szkola SEN, Dublin), Niamh Nestor (UCD), Susanna Nocchi (DIT), Conny Opitz (TCD), Frederique Rantz (PPLI), Mary Ruane (IRAAL), Christiane Schönfeld (UL), Sarah Smyth (TCD), Margot Spencer (UCC), Riana Walsh (IT Tallaght), OVFL Submission to DES Consultation on a Foreign Languages in Education Strategy, 2014 Report, 2014 URL

Peer-Learning in the Language Departments at Trinity College Dublin in, editor(s)Sarah Moore, Peter Carr, Martina Crehan, Jane Crowley, Deirdre Flynn, Pat Morgan and Pat Shannon , Keeping Students at University: The Retention Debate at Third Level, Dublin, Interesource Group Publishing, 2006, pp89 - 101 , [Sarah Smyth, Conny Opitz] Book Chapter, 2006

Opitz, Conny, Product and Process Compared - an Empirical Study, Translation Ireland, 2, 2000, p7-9 Journal Article, 2000

Kenny, Dorothy (with Conny Opitz), Researching the Translation Process, Translation Ireland, (2), 2000, p1-2 Journal Article, 2000

Opitz, Conny, Language Attrition - Sprachverlust, University of Hanover, Fachsprachenzentrum, 28th March 2008, 2008, Schwienhorst, Klaus Invited Talk, 2008

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition and L2 Acquisition - down to Brass Tacks, Graduate Workshop on First Language Attrition, Amsterdam, 2006, 2006 Conference Paper, 2006

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition and L2 Acquisition - the Point of Maximum Impact, Graduate Workshop on First Language Attrition, Amsterdam, 2005, 2005 Conference Paper, 2005

Opitz, Conny, The C-Test in Native-Language Research, Graduate Workshop on First Language Attrition, Amsterdam, 2003, 2003 Conference Paper, 2003

Opitz, Conny, L1 Attrition in Adult Bilinguals in the Context of L2 Acquisition, Graduate Workshop on First Language Attrition, Amsterdam, 2003, 2003 Conference Paper, 2003

Opitz, Conny, First Language Attrition in a Second Language Environment, IRAAL, Dublin, 2004, 2004 Conference Paper, 2004

Sarah Smyth, Conny Opitz, Peer-Learning in the Language Departments at Trinity College Dublin, Keeping Students at University: The Retention Debate at Third Level, Athlone, January 2004, 2004 Conference Paper, 2004

"Kiraly, Donald C."; "Schmitt, Peter A.", Bowker, L., Kenny, D., Pearson, J., Bibliography of Translation Studies, 2000, Manchester, St. Jerome, 2000, pp48-49, 60-61 , [Opitz, Conny] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 2000

"Robinson, Douglas"; "Beylard-Ozeroff, Ann et al", Bowker, L., Kenny, D., Pearson, J., Bibliography of Translation Studies, 1999, Manchester, St. Jerome, 1999, pp48-49, 70 , [Opitz, Conny] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 1999

"Hönig, Hans G."; "Kussmaul, Paul", Bowker, L., Kenny, D., Pearson, J., Bibliography of Translation Studies, 1998, Manchester, St. Jerome, 1998, pp14-15; 72-73 , [Opitz, Conny] Item in dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc, 1998

Research Expertise

Description

My research interests are in the area of applied linguistics, particularly in relation to adult multilingual development. In relation to my teaching practice, I am particularly interested in collaborative, co-constructive learning.

Projects

  • Title
    • Multilingual Identities and Migration
  • Summary
    • The project studies the changing multilingual identities of adult migrants. It draws on sociolinguistic data collected with the Language Attrition Test Battery, LATB, primarily six unpublished PhD theses completed during the first stage of the Graduate Network of First Language Attrition.
  • Funding Agency
    • Trinity Long Room Hub Research Incentive Scheme
  • Date From
    • 2015
  • Date To
    • 2016
  • Title
    • Developing L2 proficiency and learner autonomy in ab initio students of Russian
  • Summary
    • Purpose of research: The study has two main interests: a) the development of ab initio language proficiency, and b) of language-learner autonomy in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at Trinity College Dublin. In relation to the first interest, the research focuses on a diary task routinely completed by all, not just participating, first-year students on a weekly basis. In relation to the second interest, it investigates students' engagement with technology, again mainly through assignments set for all students which entail opportunities for self-guided learning and thus the development of language-learner autonomy. Justification for the research: The weekly diary task presents a unique opportunity to trace students' linguistic development from ab initio over an extended period of time (one academic year = five months/17 teaching weeks in Phase I; some learners will be followed for the duration of their 4-year degree). It allows us to build a dense longitudinal corpus of written student productions, which will be very valuable in identifying individual and cross-individual developmental patterns. This part of the project addresses the dearth of longitudinal written corpora in studies of second language acquisition (SLA), particularly at the early stages of SLA. It takes its impetus from recent theoretical advances which conceptualise language as a complex dynamic system to be studied holistically and with an emphasis on development and emergent properties, such as will be discernable from the data collected during this project. Identifying individual and more general developmental patterns is also relevant for potential pedagogical intervention in future years. The second part of the project is devoted to the development of learner autonomy, and is also of theoretical and pedagogical interest. By investigating how ab initio learners use technology to support their learning, the project contributes to the body of research on computer-mediated/assisted language learning, on learner autonomy and lifelong learning.
  • Date From
    • 2012
  • Date To
    • 2018
  • Title
    • Language assistants and their multilingual development - a complex systems study
  • Summary
    • The project studies the linguistic development of four language assistants holistically across the range of their languages over a period of two years. The participants interact with one another in various ways as colleagues in the workplace and interlocutors/facilitators in several of the languages under investigation.
      The project aims to answer the following research questions: 1) Given that language assistants are professional users of their native language and are employed to teach their native language, to what extent does that language change in the foreign language environment? 2) Against this background, to what extent are language assistants able to benefit from being placed in a foreign language environment and make gains in acquiring the language of the host country? 3) What changes do they experience in other languages? 4) What interactions between languages can be discerned as the multilingual system develops?
  • Date From
    • 2014
  • Date To
    • 2016
  • Title
    • L1 attrition and L2 acquisition - the impact of L2 proficiency on L1
  • Summary
    • The project explores the cognitive processes involved in maintaining one's first language in a second language setting and seeks to establish whether and in what respects the L1 of adult bilinguals undergoes attrition and whether there is a correlation between the level of L2 proficiency and the level of maintenance of the mother tongue. Current theory suggests that the simultaneous maintenance of several languages by a bilingual may be subject to trade-offs between those languages, and that changes in one language system may bring with them changes in the other(s). The research design entails the elicitation of written and oral test data from German native speaker subjects living in Ireland in both their mother tongue and English. The subjects' proficiency levels in both languages will be correlated, and the incidence of first language attrition established. It is hypothesized that subjects with a higher level of L2 proficiency are more likely to show signs of L1 attrition.
  • Date From
    • 2001
  • Date To
    • 2011

Keywords

Complexity Theory; Dynamic Systems Theory; Language acquisition; Language attrition/maintenance; Language development; Language Policy; Migration, multilingualism, multiculturalism; Minority languages; Russian culture; Russian language

Recognition

Representations

Member of Executive Committee, One Voice for Languages (OVFL) 2015

Vice-President, Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies (IARCEES) 2014

Guest Editor (with Esther de Leeuw and Dorota Lubińska) of International Journal of Bilingualism. Special Issue 17(6) on "Dynamics of First Language Attrition across the Lifespan" 2013

Co-editor (with Neil Robinson) of Irish Slavonic Studies 24 2013

Member of National Executive Committee, Irish Association for Applied Linguistics (IRAAL) 2004

Membership Secretary and Treasurer, Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies (IARCEES) 2001-2004

Member of Executive Committee, Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Association (IRAAL) 2000-2002

Webmaster, Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies (IARCEES) 2007

Manuscript reviewer for International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Language Learning, International Journal of Bilingualism

Awards and Honours

Co-investigator in ESRC-funded seminar series 2014-2017

Trinity Long Room Hub Research Incentive Grant 2015/16

Memberships

Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies (IARCEES, formerly IAREES): Vice President 2014/15; Webmaster 2007 to date; Membership Secretary and Treasurer 2001-2004 1999 – to date

IRAAL (Irish Association for Applied Linguistics); Member of Executive Committee 2004 to date 1998 – to date

ITIA (Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Association; Member of Executive Committee 2000-2003 1997 – to date

OVFL (One Voice for Languages) 2012 – to date

IAM (International Association of Multilingualism) 2004 – to date

SEEFA (Slavic and East European Folklore Association) 2009 – to date