SALSA I Proceedings (1993)

SALSA I: 1993
(SOLD OUT, .PDFs not available)


Aceto, Michael.
On the Possibility of an English-derived Gold Coast Pidgin in Use During the Slave Trade.

Anyidoho, Akosua
Gender and Verbal Art: The Case of the Akan.

Bilaniuk, Laada.
Diglossia in Flux: Language and ethnicity in Ukraine.

Brody, Jill
Mayan Conversation as Interaction.

Bucholtz, Mary
Language In Evidence: The Pragmatics of Translation in the Courtroom.

Chavez, Eliverio
Sex Differences in Minority Language Retention by Hispanic Children in Northern New Mexico.

Cortes-Conde, Florencia
English/Spanish Bilingualism: The Other Side of the Coin.

Dunn, Cynthia Dickel
Variation in Japanese Honorific Use and the Negotiation of Social Relationships.

Edwards, Marcia H. Edwards
Problems with Identifying and Quantifying the Directives in Doctor-Patient Talk.

Guion, Susan G
Structure Exaggeration in Language Death.

Hill, Jane H
Is it really "No Problemo?" Junk Spanish and Anglo-Racism.

Jacobsons, Calla
Speech Style, Grammatical Distinction, and the Reproduction of Social Difference in Highland Nepal.

Kakava, Christina
Aggravated Corrections as Disagreement in Casual Greek Conversations.

Kumpf, Lorraine E
Grammatical Roles and Participant Introductions in Native English and Second Language Discourse.

Lefkowitz, Daniel
On the Social Meaning of Code Choice in an Israeli City.

Lepselter, Susan
Genre and Competence in UFO Discourse.

Mendoza-Dento, Norma and Melissa Iwai
"They Speak More Caucasian": Generational Differences in the Speech of Japanese-Americans

Thomas, Erik R. Why We Need Descriptive Studies: Phonological Variables in Hispanic English .

Samuels, David
Kinship as Verbal Art: A Western Apache Case.

Sherzer, Joel
Pointed Lips, Thumbs Up, and Cheek Puffs: Some Emblematic Gestures in Social Interactional and Ethnographic Context.

Tillery, Randal K
Soft Fictions: Children, Narrative Events and Identity.

Walters, Keith
Individual Identity and the Political Economy of Language: The Case of Anglophone Wives in Tunisia.

Woodbury, Anthony C.
A Defense of the Proposition, "When a Language Dies, a Culture Dies."

Is it really "No Problemo?" Junk Spanish and Anglo-Racism
Jane H. Hill, University of Arizona

"Junk Spanish" is a mini-register used by speakers of English in the U.S. that attracts lexical items and fixed expressions of Spanish-language origin. The incorporation strategies of Junk Spanish lower material that has positive or neutral meanings in Spanish itself to a jocular or pejorative English meaning. Spanish-language elements of negative or scatological meaning are especially likely to appear in this register. Junk Spanish is common in mass media where it is often associated with stereotyped racist representations of "Mexicans." It is argued that Junk Spanish is an important strategy of Anglo racism that has intensified in an atmosphere where more overt racist epithets and joking have been forced underground.

Genre and Competence in UFO Discourse
Susan Lepselter, University of Texas, Austin

This paper explores the collisions and merging of speech genres in discourse about unidentified flying objects. Through a close reading of a single conversation among UFO believers. I analyze how textual authority is negotiated through the deployment of speech styles. I show how a multiplicity of voices opens an unfinalized space for the narration of an uncanny experience. Finally, I connect this brief conversation to larger cultural tensions surrounding science, gender and authority.

Soft Fictions: Children, Narrative Events and Identity
Randal K. Tillery, University of Texas, Austin

[The story] is one of the oldest forms of communication. It does not aim at transmitting the pure-in-itself of the event (as information does) but anchors the event in the life of the person reporting, in order to pass it on as experience to those listening. (Benjamin, 1972 [Vol. 1]:611; translated in Buck-Morse, 1989:336).

Language In Evidence: The Pragmatics of Translation in the Courtroom
Mary Bucholtz, University of California, Berkeley

Despite the great deal of recent attention that discourse analysts have given to language and the law, the use of transcriptions of translated speech as evidence in the courtroom is an issue that has gone undiscussed by linguists. This topic brings together three important factors addressed by various researchers on legal language: the courtroom context, the use of spoken and written language as evidence, and the effect of minority languages on trial proceedings. Taking as data the written translation of a telephone conversation used as evidence in a federal trial, I show that recontextualization of the conversation, disjunctions in the written transcription of speech, and pragmatic inconsistencies in translation can lead to juror bias against the defendant. Courtroom transcription is therefore a significant site for the contributions of discourse analysis.

Why We Need Descriptive Studies: Phonological Variables in Hispanic English
Erik R. Thomas, University of Texas, Austin

Failure to recognize Chicano English as a dialect with a life of its own and reliance on consonantal variables that are more relevant for studies of bilingualism have hampered the study of Chicano English. Acoustic analysis of interviews with four Texas Chicanos reveals several useful vowel variables. Descriptive studies are necessary to find such variables and correct the shortcomings of previous studies.

Problems with Identifying and Quantifying the Directives in Doctor-Patient Talk
Marcia H. Edwards, University of Texas, Austin

Some previous sociolinguistic studies of directives in natural speech samples have conveyed the impression that a directive is a concrete, countable phenomenon, fairly easily recognized and usually complete in a single utterance. Using excerpts of the talk between gynecologists and their female patients, tape recorded during office visits, the present study demonstrates that a single directive intent may be conveyed by a series of utterances and that a single utterance may serve more than one function. The repercussions from these nontrivial observations attempts to quantify the directives in natural speech, specifically in doctor-patient talk, are examined.

"They Speak More Caucasian": Generational Differences in the Speech of Japanese-Americans
Norma Mendoza-Denton and Melissa Iwai, Stanford University

In this paper, we attempt to explain the generational differences in the English phonology of Japanese-Americans. We believe that these speech differences are linked to changes in identity and social networks brought about by the events which took place in the United States during the Second World War. The internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps drastically affected individuals by breaking up their social networks, and permanently affected their community and its relation to the larger society. We have collected data on the phonological processes of t/d deletion and monophthongization of/ey/ and /ow/ from recorded interviews with Japanese-Americans of the second and fourth generations. Investigation of generational differences with respect to these processes suggests that the English spoken by second generation nisei bilingual speakers exhibits retention of features from the substrate (Japanese) language. The speech of the fourth generation yonsei speakers, however, has clearly converged with that of the matrix dialect. We attribute this generational divergence to the dramatic change in the identity and social networks of the Japanese-American community.

Individual Identity and the Political Economy of Language: The Case of Anglophone Wives in Tunisia
Keith Walters, University of Texas, Austin

Using the frameworks of the political economy of language and language use as acts of identity, this study analyzes comments made by anglophone wives of Tunisians in Tunisia, a country that is both diglossic (Arabic) and bilingual (Arabic/French), about their efforts to learn Tunisian Arabic. While commenting on the sociolinguistics of learning a "local" language, the study focuses primarily on issues of gender, power, and identity.

Diglossia in Flux: Language and ethnicity in Ukraine
Laada Bilaniuk, University of Michigan

The relationship between language and ethnicity in Ukraine is examined, based on data gathered during fieldwork conducted from October 1991 through August 1992. A model of diglossia is used to elucidate the change roles of language which have been a focal point of political transformations. Until recently, Russian was the H(igh) language, and Ukrainian the L(ow), but data show that diglossia in Ukraine is now shifting to include both standard Russian and standard Ukrainian as H languages. The L language slot is now filled by all non-standard dialects and mixtures of Ukrainian and Russian, which are collectively denoted by the Ukrainian term "surzhyk". People living in Ukraine have developed various strategies to deal with this flux in the linguistic structure of their world. Several ethnographic cases are examined in depth, with reference to Giles' speech accommodation theory to analyze the choices people make between languages and language variants in given contexts. Some of the conflicts created by the shifting diglossia, and their resolutions, are discussed.

On the Social Meaning of Code Choice in an Israeli City
Daniel Lefkowitz, University of Texas, Austin

This paper looks at the emergence of a social dialect of Hebrew used by Palestinian Arab Israelis in Haifa, Israel. Quantitative analysis of phonological variation is used to describe the dialect, and ethnographic data explicate the social meaning of its use. Parallels are drawn between language choice (Arabic/Hebrew) and the choice of dialect within Hebrew, the politically charged dominant language in Israel. The social meaning of this emergent language-use cannot be understood without reference to a complex web of inter-relations between Palestinian Arabs, Mizrahi- and Ashkenzai Jews, in which linguistic variation is used in the negotiation of new social identities, and where it is this very negotiation which drives language change.

A Defense of the Proposition, "When a Language Dies, a Culture Dies"
Anthony C. Woodbury, University of Texas, Austin

The proposition "When a language dies, a culture dies" gives a reason for preserving endangered languages, but raises valid questions in light of recent work on multilingual communities and on the conservatism of some aspects of language use in situations of language shift. It is claimed that these objections are met if the proposition is revised to say that interrupted transmission of an integrated lexical and grammatical heritage spells the direct end of some cultural traditions, and the unraveling, restructuring, and reevaluation of others. In support of this, it is argued that in situations of language shift, ancestral and replacing languages are not equivalent vehicles for cultural maintenance or expression. An extended empirical case is made on the basis of Central Alaskan Yupik Eskimo demonstrative use.

On the Possibility of an English-derived Gold Coast Pidgin in Use During the Slave Trade
Michael Aceto, University of Texas, Austin

This paper is an effort to explain the occurrence of Twi/Ashanti lexical correspondences in the creoles of Jamaica and Surinam. This paper gathers Twi lexical items from several sources and uses them to illustrate the thesis that an English-derived Gold Coast pidgin was present within the matrix of several Anglophone creoles. This paper correlates Twi lexical data from six English-derived creoles to provide some insight into the lexicon of a contact variety of English that was perhaps familiar to some African slaves in the Americas originating from the Lower Guinea Coast.

English/Spanish Bilingualism: The Other Side of the Coin
Florencia Cortes-Conde, University of Texas, Austin

Studies of language maintenance or shift deal with situations in which the language enduring either of these processes is of a lower prestige. The immigrant community I have studied poses a unique perspective: that of English, a language of great instrumental value in the business community that is currently confronting the same shift and maintenance dilemma typical of other immigrant languages, the loss of the home domain. In field work carried out in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1990, I had Anglo-Argentine community members answer extensive questionnaires concerning language use and language attitudes to both Spanish and English. Factor analysis and relative frequencies show that in spite of its prestige, English is no longer maintained at home. Further statistical analyses show that the main demographic factor affecting change is age, with younger members less likely to speak English than older ones. Although the English language is maintained in the schools, personal accounts and participant observations of community members show that the language is not an ethnic marker. The fact that English has lost its value as an ethnic marker can account for the loss of the home domain. There is a tendency in sociolinguistics to believe that the problems of language maintenance are usually related to the lower prestige and economic standing of the community speaking the immigrant language. This study maintains that there are covert forces at work in the community at large that put into question the loyalty of an immigrant community and makes it very difficult to maintain a situation of stable bilingualism if isolation is not achieved.

Sex Differences in Minority Language Retention by Hispanic Children in Northern New Mexico
Eliverio Chavez, Texas Tech University

Sex differences in language loss among Hispanic children were examined in three communities. The bilingual proficiency of 205 subjects was measured by various instruments. The results indicate that females are less proficient in Spanish and are the precursors in language shift to English because of language prestige and female employment opportunities. Higher rates of male proficiency were evident only in the most rural location; thus, data was gathered in threemore rural communities in order to substantiate the original findings. An additional 148 subjects were measured, and the results of the first study were verified. Overall, the correlative factors in language retention by males include rurality, early stages of language shift, low socioeconomic status, and employment patterns.

Structure Exaggeration in Language Death
Susan G. Guion, University of Texas, Austin

In this paper, I propose that dying languages are characterized by a stage of structure exaggeration, in which features of the dying language most saliently different from the dominant are used more frequently and in more situations than in the earlier, healthy form of the language. I first base my observations on research conducted on a dying dialect of New World German spoken in Gillespie County, Texas, and then draw parallels with language death situations in other languages.

Grammatical Roles and Participant Introductions in Native English and Second Language Discourse
Lorraine E. Kumpf, California State University, Long Beach

This study is concerned with the way in which new participants are introduced into a narrative. It examines the form of the noun phrase introducing the referent, and correlates that with the grammatical role of the NP and with the status of the character (major or minor) in the narrative. Both native and nonnative English texts will be examined. It is assumed that the form of the NP is based largely on factors of information flow, that is, on whether information is new to the discourse or to the hearer, known to the hearer, accessible through some sort of shared knowledge, evoked by a frame, and so on; the information status of some NPs will be discussed. The perspective supporting this study is that grammatical structures emerge from patterns of language use: grammar may take shape to a significant degree as a result of discourse patterns which one can understand as functionally or pragmatically driven. Du Bois' (1987) discussion of the role of intransitives in narratives particularly motivates this work. (See also Chafe, 1980, 1987; Prince, 1981, 1992; Du Bois, 1980; and Givon, 1983). Introductions are identified and classified in this study according to the structure of the clause containing the first mention of, or the first reference to, the new participant. As such, the NPs used to refer to these participants will be new information, and it is expected that the NPs will be full lexical nouns. Du Bois (1987) and others have quantified the expectation that new information correlates with full NPs. This study will review and revise the claim (Du Bois, 1987; Redeker, 1987) that new participants are introduced with intransitives.

Variation in Japanese Honorific Use and the Negotiation of Social Relationships
Cynthia Dickel Dunn, University of Texas, Austin

This paper uses data from interviews with twelve native speakers of Japanese to discuss the issue of what happens when people with different sociolinguistic norms for honorific use meet and try to converse. The consultants were asked about their norms for the use of Japanese honorific levels and to describe situations in which they were surprised by someone else's honorific use. Several consultants described situations in which they were uncomfortable because their interlocutors used plain forms when they expected polite honorifics, or vice versa. There were also instances in which one speaker changed his/her behavior to match that of the other. Diverging expectations about appropriate honorific use can thus lead to negative emotional reactions, accommodation, or both. The negotiation of which honorific level to use involves both defining the nature of the relationship and reaching a level of accommodation between potentially disparate sociolinguistic norms.

Aggravated Corrections as Disagreement in Casual Greek Conversations
Christina Kakava, Georgetown University

Disagreement has previously been considered a structurally and consequently an interactionally 'dispreferred' action that threatens speakers' sociability. No study has thoroughly examined contextual factors that may reflect a particular form a disagreement make take, but some studies have shown that disagreement can be a form of sociability in some ethnic groups (Schiffrin 1984, Kakava 1989). The purpose of this study is to examine a type of disagreement referred to as 'aggravated correction' and show that this type of disagreement can reflect contextual parameters such as speakers' high involvement style (Tannen 1984) and a speech community's cultural norms which may 'allow' this type of contentiousness. It further proposes a modified version of Hymes' (1972) speech components as the likely parameters that may be indexed by a particular disagreement type. This study treats disagreement as a context-dependent action in a constitutive relationship with contextual parameters and it thus redresses previous studies' limitations.

Pointed Lips, Thumbs Up, and Cheek Puffs: Some Emblematic Gestures in Social Interactional and Ethnographic Context
Joel Sherzer, University of Texas, Austin

Emblematic gestures from three distinct locations, the Kuna pointed-lip gesture, the Brazilian thumbs-up gesture, and French breath, lip, and cheek gestures, are studied from the combined perspectives of social interaction and discourse analysis and the ethnography of speaking/communication. It is shown that there is a relationship between the details of face-to-face communication and more general social, political, and economic context.

Kinship as Verbal Art: A Western Apache Case
David Samuels, University of Texas, Austin

Numerous writers have explained the Southern Athapaskan (Apachean) clan system as either a result of Pueblo influence, or as an epiphenomenon of material subsistence patterns. The present paper instead investigates Apachean clanship and kinship as an expressive system--that is, as a primary speech genre in an ethnography of speaking. The paper delineates the use of kinship terms as an extended set of personal pronouns. It explores the ways in which this personal pronoun usage constitutes sentiment and social relations in a system of competitive egalitarianism. A connection between grammar and this intersubjective sentiment is made in a discussion of the proper use of the dual form of the verb.


Gender and Verbal Art: The Case of the Akan
Akosua Anyidoho, University of Texas, Austin

The paper examines the extent to which verbal expressive roles played by the female and male in Akan culture correspond to the socially approved sex-roles. It is hypothesized that sex-exclusive verbal genres will mirror the general sex roles, if society is consistent in allocating roles. To explore this issue, the contexts of performance and functions of four female and five male verbal activities and genres are described and compared to the Akan's conception of masculinity and femininity and sex roles. The analysis suggests that just as males dominate public activities, and women take charge of domestic ones, discourse types controlled by the sexes also follow similar patterns. The paper, however, goes beyond simple correlation to examine the associations that has been made between the domestic realm and powerlessness on one hand, and the public sphere and power on the other. It observes that the opposition between the two domains as well as the differential values associated with them derive from capitalist ideologies, and may not apply to every society. The paper concludes that disparate criteria may be necessary in assessing gender hierarchy and relations in different cultures.

Mayan Conversation as Interaction
Jill Brody, Louisiana State University

The everyday art of conversation is valued in Mayan speech communities. The frequency and structure of back-channels in Mayan conversations makes sense when conversations are understood to be structured around cycles rather than turns. Examination of conversation in seven Mayan languages results in a preliminary classification of back-channels.

Speech Style, Grammatical Distinction, and the Reproduction of Social Difference in Highland Nepal
Calla Jacobson, University of Texas at Austin

The paper explores the way that honorifics are altered or "misused" in the Nepali language discourse of native Sherpa and Tamang speakers in northeastern highland Nepal. The Nepali language is spoken fluently but as a third language by these Sherpa and Tamang villagers. Nepali is the language of the high-caste Hindu majority in Nepal, of the central government and all its bureaucratic processes, of school instruction, and of radio news and folksong broadcasts. When speaking Nepali, these Sherpa and Tamang villagers make significant changes to its grammar and honorifics, changes that are perceived as mistakes by the high-caste majority. These changes dramatically increase ambiguity and affect--indeed nearly erase the way that status relations are indexed in grammatically "correct" Nepali-language discourse. I argue that this particular pattern of grammatical "mistakes," paradoxically functions to challenge and at the same time to reproduce social asymmetry. I concentrate on Nepali-language discourse, but include preliminary comments on the Sherpa and Tamang languages for comparative purposes.