SALSA XV: 2007
Texas Linguistic Forum Vol. 51.
(2007) Austin: Texas Linguistic Forum
Kate Shaw, Sarah Wagner, Eiko Yasui eds.
Jung-Eun (Janie) Lee
Much work within linguistics and conversation analysis has been devoted to examining how shared knowledge and mutual understanding are managed. Much less effort has been focused on how the sharing of personal experience is managed as an interactional process. Yet this kind of sharing involves some of the most intimate forms of mutuality between persons, and may be central in the formation and management of social bonds. This paper offers a sketch of some of the ways in which recipients of talk about personal experiences can manage (or fail to manage) moments of empathic connection with their interlocutors.
This paper explores some problems of consistency and disjuncture in ideologies of language and the (socio-)linguistic experiences in which those ideologies are embedded. In what arenas might one look for consistency? What are some kinds of disjuncture, and what social, ideological, and/or analytical work might they set in motion? To speak of “ideology” at all is to imply a lack of fit between whatever one is calling “ideology” or “ideologized” and some other aspect of the world we live in. The paper considers six sets of examples, some from the sociolinguistic literature and some from my own (mostly Africanist) research, to explore relationships among experience, ideology, and analysis. Finally, if time permits, I will look at some material from an ongoing project with Senegalese migrants in Michigan, to ask whether an ideological principle itself can contain a logical contradiction.
A Pittsburgher who left the city in the mid-1960s and returned after 2000 encountered a very different indexical soundscape than the one she left. Before about 1967, features like /aw/-monophthongization (which makes downtown sound like dahntahn) indexed social class, for those Pittsburghers for whom this variant had any second-order indexical meaning at all. Growing up in a middle-class suburb, the returned Pittsburgher associated this and other local features with the nearest working-class neighborhood, and many of the relatively socially and geographically immobile residents of that neighborhood didn’t associate them with anything. Coming back to Pittsburgh in 2004, the returnee found that people now associated the same features not with class but with place. Features people heard as local were now collectively referred to as “Pittsburghese,” a term she’d never heard as a child, and examples of “Pittsburghese” adorned coffee mugs, t-shirts, postcards, and refrigerator magnets, and even got spoken by a talking doll. Newspaper cartoonists and columnists alluded to “Pittsburghese” almost every time they alluded to local identity, and ordinary people talked about local speech with a new sense of pride. Yet you could still hear people speaking with the local accent -- she did so herself, she thought -- and some of these people found it embarrassing.
It is well-known that diversity of spoken languages around the world is not equally distributed (Nettle & Romaine, 2000). Highly diverse areas where many languages co-exist are concentrated in a few places in the world, in contrast to most of Europe and North America where diversity is comparatively much lower. Because of the social history of communities of deaf people around the world, the geography of sign languages does not pattern like spoken languages. British Sign Language, for example, is not related to American Sign Language; instead, ASL is related to French Sign Language because ties between their deaf education systems. BSL, on the other hand, is closely related to Australian Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language because of the influence of British deaf educators dating from the middle of the nineteenth century. In this talk, I will contrast sign languages of Europe and North America on the one hand with sign languages of the Middle East on the other. In Europe and North America, communities of deaf people are in large part shaped by the systems of deaf education built in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the Middle East, however, deaf education has a different history. As a result, we see a distinctly different distribution of sign languages in this region, with more unrelated sign languages. Many, though not all, of these sign languages are small and generally, are younger languages, having existed for only a few generations.
Criminal suspects have the right to assistance of counsel when they are subjected to custodial police interrogation because of its inherent coerciveness. Under Supreme Court caselaw, a suspect is deemed to have invoked this right to counsel only if the request is clear and unhedged. This paper challenges this doctrine as an inadequate protection of constitutional rights, based on false assumptions about conversational implicature. It also flies in the face of sociolinguistic research on the use of hedged and indirect speech patterns showing that those in positions of powerlessness—women, minorities, and indeed criminal suspects generally—are apt to use indirect and qualified modes of performative speech. Legal rules privileging direct, assertive speech thus lead courts to ignore attempts by large segments of the population to exercise their constitutional rights. Understanding the sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors that lead persons to choose a particular mode of speech would require courts to treat indirect, facially ambiguous requests for counsel as effective invocations of that right.
In this paper, I analyze the metadiscursive construction of discursive agency in legal appeals based on the “excited utterance” exception to the hearsay rule of evidence in US case law. The excited utterance is a statement made in response to a startling event that has stilled the reflective faculties of the speaker (Federal Rules of Evidence, VIII.3). The discourse regarding the admissibility of the excited utterance reproduces and circulates a language ideology that sometimes assigns discursive agency, or what Blommaert (2005) refers to as “voice,” to events rather than speakers. Based on a corpus analysis of 84 appellate court opinions, I argue that the testimonial/nontestimonial binary operating in the excited utterance exception to hearsay limits the performative agency (Duranti, 2001) of victims and witnesses and creates a situation in which accurate statements about an event can only be produced by the event itself. This analysis also complicates the sometimes oversimplified Western views about discourse and agency that locate agency in either the speaker or the institution.
Much of the attention allotted to the notion of context within the Speech Act Theory (SAT) has been focused on conventional elements of context, in the form of felicity conditions, which help the speaker attain a successful performance of speech utterances. However, a major criticism directed towards the theoretical premise of SAT lies in its failure to consider “cultural context” as a determining factor in signaling the reading of speech utterances and their performative nature (Leech, 1983). Using Moroccan bargaining data, this paper investigates the importance of cultural context in the determination of the illocutionary force and the perlocutionary effects of speech utterances in the bargaining exchange. The theoretical focus of this paper is to show how marketers in a bargaining exchange manipulate salient shared cultural concepts and strategically organize and analyze each other’s locutions while mobilizing the different social roles and indexing the relationships in which they enter.
This case study is part of a Canada-wide multiliteracy research project that explores ways of promoting collaborative critical inquiry through an instant messaging (IM) software. Central to this presentation is a focus on how students in a grade 10 Math class collectively made efficient use of this popular technology to create optimal learning conditions. In this presentation I will provide a detail account of how students utilized the structure of online communicative processes to actively control their learning, develop their understanding of mathematical concepts and shape
their social identity. Based on my analysis, I argue that network technologies, when judiciously implemented, affords students a safe and empowering academic environment to voice their ideas and expand their knowledge in creative ways.
African Americans traditionally use verbal language as a way not only to communicate but also as a way to share stories of love, survival, struggle and triumph. However, research on African American communication has ignored a sub-section of the larger community: individuals who are Deaf.
In this paper, I examine contemporary hip hop lyrics, largely taken from rap battles, in order to demonstrate that gender and sexuality are strongly connected to social status in the hip hop community. Central to this argument is the idea that social activity in African American communities is governed by a “code of the street”, which centers around the commodification of respect, or being granted one's social due. Hip hop lyrics are rife with examples of so-called 'men's language', which as Robin Lakoff has suggested, must be analyzed concurrently with 'women's language'. An analysis of the language (mostly male) rappers use to negotiate social status offers insight into the value system of the status economy by showing how men use gendered language to place others into lower-status positions. However, the social status afforded by the use of 'men's language' is limited in scope due to the socioeconomic realities of inner-city life. Thus, we must reconsider the widely-held perception that 'men's language' affords far-reaching benefits to those who use it.
The study investigated the status of Chabacano (Philippine Spanish Creole) in five archipelagic areas of the Philippines (Zamboanga, Ternate, Cavite City, Ermita and Davao)were it is or it was once the vernacular. As a sociolinguistic study, language choice was determined through participant observation, survey, in-depth interview and dyadic recording. Results revealed that Chabacano is surviving but threatened in Zamboanga, dying in Ternate and Cavite City, and dead in Davao and Ermita. Age and role-relationship motivated the speakers in their choice of language while topic and place were non-motivating factors.
This paper explores the intersection of language ideology and theology as a way of explaining the differences found in ritual uses of language between Q’eqchi’-Maya mainstream and Charismatic Catholic groups. I argue that mainstream Catholics’ linguistic practices (e.g. purist uses of Q’eqchi’, a restricted number of ratified speakers, conventional texts, etc.) are connected to ideas about self-control and the mediation of religious experience through the local community and the Church hierarchy. Charismatic Catholics’ practices (e.g. code switching between Spanish and Q’eqchi’, glossolalia, etc.), on the other hand, derive from ideas about individual spontaneity and a desire for an unmediated experience of the divine. These differences have recently become the focus of a debate about what it means to be a good Q’eqchi’-Maya Catholic. I will argue that in order to understand what is at stake in this debate over linguistic practices we must consider how each group’s the theological concerns and goals engender two opposing language ideological positions.
A Critical Examination of Language Policy for Naming and Identity: A Case Study of Taiwan 1945 to Present
Several studies have explored ideologies about Pidgin (or Hawai‘i Creole English) through surveys and questionnaires. Language ideology, however, is only partly captured in self-reports: people’s talk about language is often less nuanced than their practical understandings manifest in language use. Focusing on translation jokes circulated in print and electronic media, this study goes beyond self-reports to investigate ideologies about Pidgin embedded in language use. Translation jokes, which often rely on stereotypes for creating humor, serve as an ideal site for the investigation of ideology. In Pidgin-English translation jokes, a Pidgin and an English text are juxtaposed against each other. While the core meaning of the texts is kept roughly the same, the intertextual gap is manipulated for comic effect. In our corpus of translation jokes, Pidgin and English represent ‘local voice’ and ‘haole (i.e., white) voice’ respectively. To uncover ideologies about Pidgin and English, this study examines the linguistic construction of the two voices in translation humor.
Recent conversation analytic research on language and sexually has taken an empirically grounded approach to the study of sexuality in everyday interaction. This work seeks to uncover the routine interactional practices through which speakers produce themselves as either heterosexual or homosexual. These practices, accomplished jointly by co-participants in interaction, may work either to disrupt or to maintain normative sexual identities and ideologies. This paper analyzes extracts from two conversations in which self-identified gay men account for apparently non-normative conduct, in one case a past sexual experience with a women and in another a lack of sex with a long-term partner. The analysis focuses both on the practices that the men use to account for these experiences as well as the methods that co-participants use to make such accounts relevant in the interaction. It is argued that these account sequences reveal participants' conceptions of normative and non-normative conduct for gay men and simultaneously serve to maintain normative gay identities.
Scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds have studied advertising language in terms of persuasive strategies, the message content, and the ideology of the consumer culture, but there has been a lack of linguistic research on the discourse variation among advertisements that promote particular commodities or target different social groups. This study attempts to fill this gap by providing a sociolinguistic analysis of print advertising and explores the notion that there are two main persuasive tactics in advertising discourse: reason or hard-sell advertising and tickle or soft-sell advertising. The data for this study consist of print advertisements collected from one year’s issues of 3 magazines that differ in terms of the targeted readership. A total of 252 unique advertisements representing 3 different types of commodities are collected and analyzed for discourse patterns. Results suggest that differences in the persuasive strategies used in advertising correlate with both target audience and commodity type.
American Russian (AR), a reduced variety of Russian spoken in the United States, is generally characterized as exhibiting significant lexical and structural changes as compared to Standard Russian. The study examines the attrition phenomena in the original data elicited from AR speakers in Minnesota, focusing on the reduction of vocabulary, lexicalization and loss of aspectual distinctions, loss of gender agreement and case. The findings presented in the paper are further applied to address the larger theoretical question of whether attrition in AR is induced by external factors (the dominant language influence in a close language contact situation) or is motivated internally as a result of language disuse. It is argued here that while in the area of the lexicon attrition is best attributed to the dominant language influence, the structural changes in the grammar of AR support the internal motivation hypothesis as they occur without any apparent interference from English.
The media representation of linguistic varieties is a growing area in sociolinguistics, but representations of Asian and Asian American speech have only recently received attention. The present paper adds to this research by analyzing Hollywood film representations of Asian languages, drawing on ethnic theory and discourse-analytic methods. I argue that widespread misrepresentation of Asian languages is closely tied to what Asian American studies scholars have identified as the problem of marginalized spectatorship.
In looking at the service-assessment sequence of haircutting interactions, this paper examines one of the many complex notions of CA, preferred/dispreferred turn shapes (Pomerantz 1984), from a multimodal perspective. Specifically, I explore whether participants simultaneously produce verbal and embodied actions for shaping preferred/dispreferred-action turn and what combinations of verbal and embodied actions are attended to by others as a “display of (dis)satisfaction” of a new cut. I argue that a multimodal look at preferred/dispreferred turn shapes reveals a larger diagram of communicative resources to display the degree of agreement, satisfaction, and so forth. Such analysis from this perspective will contribute to a better understanding of prior CA findings as a whole. In addition to this, it will bring further explanation to how participants interactionally come to share an agreement of aesthetic judgment and how a particular product (e.g. a new haircut) is interactionally achieved, as opposed to solely being the end result of a professional’s trade skills.
This paper analyzes narratives of twelve adult American CODAs (hearing “children of deaf adults”). The narrators’ judgments of their own and others’ family language practices reveal a recurring theme: communication potentially involves effort, and failure to put in appropriate effort deserves criticism. The narrators never state explicitly how they decide when effort is to be expected; however, an implicit organizing principle is evident: effort is appropriate only to the degree that it overcomes potential communication barriers. This principle is shared by all of the interviewees, despite their variation on every demographic and linguistic measure other than the fact of having deaf parents. In these narratives, family language choices and the effort they require are judged on the basis of functionality, with little regard for the language ideologies of the surrounding Hearing or Deaf communities. The value that these CODAs place on doing what works—no more, and no less—seems to have emerged from their situation as children of deaf parents, rather than being a learned community norm.
Recent work in variationist sociolinguistics has demonstrated that speakers draw on the social meaning of variables to construct identities, but few studies have explicitly identified the ways in which variables are marshaled in negotiating identity. Based on a detailed study of style shifting among gay professionals, this paper proposes and illustrates three strategies for negotiating identity through the use of phonological variables. Speakers can (1) assemble linguistic features, and their individual social meanings, into a stylistic package; (2) reconfigure their stylistic packages as they move from one situation to another, adopting entirely different clusters of variables; and (3) employ clusters of variables strategically within a situation as the discourse unfolds, highlighting styles in particular conversational moments. These strategies provide speakers with considerable room for creativity when managing their positions in the social world.
Second language acquisition research has addressed social factors underlying language learners’ degrees of success. Schumann (1978) found that societal factors affect achievement in acquiring a second language. Milroy’s (1987) social network theory reveals that communities are constituted by dense and multiplex structural relationships of different types. This study investigates the relationship between social networks and the acquisition of SLA accent. Using a cross-sectional design, it explores how network zones relate to the acquisition of native-like Regional Erzurum Accent (REA) of Turkish by native Kurds. It addresses the nature and content of Kurds’ social networks, their density/multiplexity, and how these networks relate to the acquisition of REA across different accent levels. Data were collected from 121 middle/high school students, and included speech samples from a read-aloud accent test, and three questionnaires. Results show significant variation in participants’ accents and reveal that participants with more Turkish-speaking networks received higher scores on accent.
In this paper, I examine closing arguments in U.S. criminal trials to demonstrate the multiple linguistic strategies employed by lawyers to navigate between their need to appeal to the jurors on a subjective level as trustworthy and likable while still appearing to be an objective authority who is believable. Previous research into this dual nature that lawyers must display has shown that lawyers play a "character" (Hobbs 2003) or put on a "lawyer persona" (Trenholm 1989). These studies, however, have focused only on code-switching, particularly between AAVE and Standard English (Garner and Rubin 1986, Fuller 1993, Hobbs 2003) to explain the phenomenon. I put together a typology, based on shifts in the use of multiple linguistic devices within a single discourse, to show how lawyers weave together both personal and authoritative voices to create a persuasive "lawyer persona" that will hopefully persuade the jurors.
“In Navajo we call him little father”/ “In Navajo, we call him ‘shidá’í:’” The emergence and calibration of style by two Navajo poets
In the increasingly intense and ubiquitous discourses of Chinese economic development, and its implications for American dominance on the world political economic stage in what has been termed by some as the coming "Chinese century," language has become a concern and is understood by many as an important skill for competitiveness in a future “globalized workforce.” This suggests that language, recast as a key to future economic capital, and through language education, as a sort of acquirable commodity, is undergoing changes in the way that it is understood to connect to other arenas. Focusing on Chinese American ethnolinguistic formation in San Francisco, I suggest that a shift in language from identity to skill radically complicates the link between language and ethnicity. In particular, I suggest that the link between ethnicity and what is understood as “heritage language” is approaching a point of flexibility, and that the link between ethnic and linguistic and ethnolinguistic is contingent and linked closely to imaginations of the political economy.