Borderlands and border crossings have been the defining feature of Tej Bhatia’s life. His family tradition extends from the border of Iran and modern-day Pakistan to Afghanistan, particularly Kabul. His family came as a refugee to India during the partition. While growing up in India, his home language was Multani (also called Saraiki and Lahanda), which he still uses with his brothers in India, his ethnic language is Punjabi. Growing up in Delhi, Hindi-Urdu added a further trajectory to his social and intellectual life. While Pushto (Afghanistan) was usually reserved for mild scolding by his father; it was particularly aimed at teaching important lessons in life. Since English was then still seen as the language of British colonialism, it was prohibited at home. His schooling was carried out essentially through Hindi-Urdu. English became the integral part of his professional make since his graduate school education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). Prior to that he worked with American Peace Corps in rural India.
Tej K. Bhatia is Professor of Linguistics and Director of South Asian languages at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. He has been Director of Linguistic Studies Program and Acting Director of Cognitive Sciences at his university. Currently, he is also a Faculty Fellow, Forensic Sciences and National Security Institute. He was also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Popular Television at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication. He is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation Award for excellence in research.
He has published a number of books, articles and book chapters in the area of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, language and social cognition, media (advertising), discourse, Sociolinguistics, the structure of World Englishes and South Asian languages (particularly, Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi).
His publications include five handbooks with William C. Ritchie– Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism (2013; Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell); A New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (2009; Bingley, UK: Emeralds Group Publishing Ltd.); Handbook of Bilingualism (2006/2004; Oxford: Blackwell); Handbook of Child Language Acquisition (1999; San Diego: Academic Press); and Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (1996; San Diego: Academic Press).
His authored books include, Advertising and marketing in rural India (2007; Macmillan India); Advertising in Rural India: Language, Marketing communication, and Consumerism (2000; Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Press); Colloquial Urdu (2000/2013; London: Routledge); Colloquial Hindi (1996/2013; London: Routledge); Negation in South Asian Languages (1995; Delhi: Indian Institute of Indian Languages); Punjabi: A cognitive-descriptive grammar (1993, 2008, London: Routledge); and A History of the Hindi Grammatical Tradition (1987; Leiden: E. J. Brill).
He has been the recipient of a number of grants from the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, American Council of Learned Societies, The Smithsonian Institution, Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad, Linguistic Society of America, and American Council for Learned Society, among others.
He has held visiting professorships at a number of prestigious universities in North America, Japan, and India. He has been consultant to several academic, administrative and business organizations. He is on the Board of Directors of Inter-Religious Council of New Americans of Central New York.