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Matt A., Clarice A. Nelson, Wali Rahman, and Jürgen Streeck.
Politics of Language Hate
should authenticity count?: number terms and language purism in Isthmus
This paper examines discourses of language purism in Juchitn, Oaxaca, Mexico, taking number terms as a case in point. Isthmus Zapotec has retained pre-Hispanic terms for cardinal numbers one through ten, twenty, and multiples of one hundred; other terms in general use are borrowed from Spanish. Purist consciousness increasingly problematizes the use of many Spanish-origin terms, including numbers, in certain contexts. I compare the present-day and pre-Hispanic systems, and emerging purist practices in local radio programming and everyday conversations, and how they show the inevitable tensions involved in forging contemporary, authentic ways of counting in Zapotec.
linguistics and Maya worldview: the creation of neologisms in Kaqchikel
This paper examines the practice of "political linguistics" (technical linguistic research with self-consciously political ends) among Kaqchikel Maya linguists. Presenting data on the creation of neologisms, we argue that the practice of Kaqchikel political linguistics is conditioned by the social relationship between professional native linguists and other native speakers, the explicitly political and often confrontational relationship between native linguists and the Guatemalan state, and the structural position of Guatemala and Maya scholar-activists within the global political economy. We argue that the dynamic interplay of structural relations act to shape not only indigenous linguistic research but Maya worldview as well.
cultural ideology, and the meaning of shift in Silesian pronominal address
The paper explores how historical shift in the system of pronominal address of Silesian, a dialect of Polish, may be seen as guided by the cultural ideology of its speakers. Silesians, over the course of this century, have experienced the transfer of their territory from Germany to Poland, and this transfer has occasioned the replacement of one element of the pronominal address system, a calque from German, with a loan from Polish. The paper argues for cultural ideology as a force guiding this shift and examines continuity and change within it.
tourism landscapes: an analysis of the fence at the Oklahoma City bombing
This paper examines the vernacular text of the Oklahoma City Bombing landscape as a conversation among several different speech communities and as a collection of cohesive strategies which unite all who visit into one speech community. Using Dean MacCannell's idea of a touristic marker, as well as Haliday and Hasan, Grice, Hinds, Polyani and other discourse analysts, I argue that the site has the cohesive strategies of text, the cooperative and organizational elements of conversation, as well as the defining qualities of narrative.
Toilets for a Diverse Neighborhood:" framing, immigrant/non-immigrant
agency roles, and conflicting visions of diversity
Through an analysis of framing and agency, I analyze how residents of a multi-ethnic urban US neighborhood use a frame of "celebration of diversity" combined with distinct and differing agentive roles for recent immigrants and non-immigrants, to construct immigrants as locus and agent of diversity, both conceptually and syntactically. Rather than being created through the residential mix of the community, then, diversity is brought into the community by immigrants. Through focusing on constructed actions of immigrants, then, diversity talk comes to be not about how diversity affects the whole community, but rather how it affects non-immigrants, in either positive or negative ways.
Starbucks and the commercialization of casual conversation
This paper critiques the notion of "casual conversation" as unmarked, largely unconstrained, and therefore distinct from "institutional" and "task-oriented" forms of talk. Participant-observation and interviews with middle-class adult residents of Tucson, Arizona, reveal significant constraints temporal, spatial, and socioeconomic that impinge on what conversation analysts call "talk for the sake of talking." For example, speakers often refer to casual conversation as incidental to other activities, such as coffee-drinking, rather than a distinct activity in its own right. Moreover, nonkin and non-cohabiting speakers often choose to converse in commercial spaces, such as bars, restaurants and coffeehouses.
in Nicaraguan sign language: assessing word recognition skills at the
Escuelita de Bluefields
This study examines the acquisition of literacy by deaf students of the Escuelita de Bluefields, the only sign language school on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. The students, aged 6 to 35, communicated only in idiosyncratic signs unique to each home before they entered the school. They are in the process of acquiring their first language, Nicaraguan sign language, while they learn to read and write in SignWriting, a system of literacy applicable to all sign languages. The results show that deaf people who are late in their first language acquisition can learn to read in sign language.
effects of mill villages on the evolution of American Southern Englishes
A textile mill town in Georgia is the site of recent linguistic change. Due in large part to the rise of new industry around the turn of the century, dialects formerly traceable to original settlement patterns were quickly altered with the influx of mill workers from northern Georgia and Alabama and the creation of enclosed mill villages. This study incorporates current original field work with the findings of dialectologists and sociolinguists working in the southeast. Patterns of linguistic variation are investigated according to a social network study which finds significance in the variables of mill versus agricultural affiliation, along with age, race, and gender.
shift in a four-generation family in Taiwan
Language use in Taiwan has shifted from ethnic languages -- Southern Min, Hakka, and aboriginal languages -- toward Mandarin, the only official language. This paper reports the language shift from Southern Min toward Mandarin in a four-generation family in Taiwan. This paper aims to answer the question "How does the language shift from Southern Min toward Mandarin manifest itself across generations?." The language shift in Taiwan has been documented, for example Huang (1988), Yeh (1989), Young (1989) and Chan (1994). However, most of the previous studies of the language shifts in Taiwan were conducted at quantitative and macro level. This paper reports the language shift from Southern Min toward Mandarin in Taiwan from a different angle from most of the previous studies.
Communication in Practice Perspective
we do not speak Bhojpuri"
Banaras, India, is a complex urban center where linguistic and religious difference is salient and politicized. Banarsi Hindus and Muslims alternatively use what they self-label as Hindi or Urdu or (Banarsi) Bhojpuri to construct social identities in which symbolic associations between language and religion are instrumental in establishing and maintaining social borders. Analysis of nine sets of personal identity assertions reveals how lexical choice, syntax, discourse markers and pragmatic features reflect and reshape public discourses about the meaning of "Hindu" or "Muslim," or "Hindi," "Urdu" or "Bhojpuri."
three doors--Spanish, English, and both; I'm going to both"
This exploratory study focuses on the language attitudes of 20 Mexican-American adolescents towards Spanish, English, and bilingualism, and what these attitudes reveal about language shift in this community. Interviews elicit how youths define patterns of language choice, proficiency, and attitudes. Participants struggle to resolve contradictions between the assets and deficits of bilingualism and the permanence versus mutability of one¹s "native language." Findings suggest a need for terms that are appropriate to the dynamic nature of bilingualism. A dominant theme in this study, language recovery, suggests educators ought to increase the availability of inheritance-language instruction through the secondary grades.
are Texas Czechs?: language and identity of Czech Texans today
This paper will present preliminary findings of an ethnolinguistic dissertation project based on six months of fieldwork in rural Texas Czech communities. Guided by the question, What role does the language passing out of use continue to play in the immigrant community and in the shifting definitions of its members' ethnic identity?, it explores Czech language use and its significance for ethnic identity among current generations of Texas Czechs. To retrieve community members' views and assess their Czech, participant observation combined audio-taping of naturally occurring and elicited speech, questionnaires, and ethnographic notes. Based on the interview/questionnaire data from 40-50 informants, I will demonstrate a variable relationship between (1) Czechness in people¹s lives and their language proficiency, and (2) ethnic consciousness and Moravian dialectical features displayed in their idiolects.
immigrants: a study of linguistic identity
Prior studies have demonstrated the importance of recognizing the link between language and identity. Haitians experience conflict in establishing their identities due to the stigma associated with speaking Creole. In this study, I examine the effects of Creole, French, and English on the creation of the identities of Haitian immigrants attending a New Jersey university. The basis for this study is ethnographic in that it is based on interviews and tapes of conversations between these students. Their sense of identity is reflected by their attitudes towards the three languages and their choice of which language to use in various situations.
sociocultural functions of deixis in the narratives of gangsta rap
In this paper I discuss the inter-relation of grammar and culture by examining the use of deixis in the narratives of gangsta rap. By analyzing the use of grammatical items which locate individuals spatially and temporally, I will argue that the evocation of pre-existing cognitive cultural models in this discourse also locates individuals culturally and ideologically. This approach seeks to integrate cognitive linguistics with anthropological approaches to language: namely, the political economy and ideology of verbal art.
language politics in performance
Puppet performances in Liège, Belgium are rich documents of metalinguistic activity. Prosody, phonology, syntax, lexicon and discourse structure are all manipulated to create enjoyable stories which resonate with people¹s lived experiences. Lived experience for Belgians includes frequent political discussion of language use. Rather than the aspects of language listed above, political discussion focuses on the choice of code which has been a major political problem in multilingual Belgium for over a hundred years. Puppeteers frequently allude to national language politics during their performances. This paper examines the nature of such allusions.
of lyrical combat
This paper is an attempt to explain the art of rapping by looking at its casualties, at moments when it fails. Rapping‹dropping rhymes on a beat‹is originally a purely oral form of communication, and, while it poses very specific tasks for its practitioners, it also reflects and represents phenomena that are characteristic of all spontaneous, "oral" uses of language. We present a preliminary exploration of failures and repair in freestyle rapping, in situations where M.C.¹s battle one another. Our materials are segments of videotapes recorded at open-mic nights at the Texas Union at the University of Texas at Austin.
in cross-linguistic medical interviews: the interpretation of interpretive
work on the nature of cross-linguistic interpretation has focused on
the dual nature of interpretation, as both the point of contact between
linguistic codes and also between cultural and cognitive domains (Berk-Seligson
1990, Calzada Perez 1993, Juhel 1983). Analyses of the interpretive
work done in Bible translations (Kugel 1997, Rafael 1993) point out
the importance of recognizing "translation" as a form of cultural negotiation
and dissemination; the interpretation of the words and of "The Word"
march hand in hand. In this paper I give an account of cross-linguistic
medical interpretation that stresses the dual nature of medical interpreting:
on the one hand medical interpreters are urged to perform with absolute
semantic fidelity; on the other they are required to negotiate the interpretive
patterns of dialogue in medical interviews so that the collaborative
processes of diagnosis may be achieved. In short, medical interpreters
are engaged in the interpretation of interpretation.
and responsibility: perceptions of NATO expansion
My paper is a critical analysis of a joint declaration of the Parliaments of Russia, Byelorussia, Latvia, and the Ukraine opposing an eastward expansion of the NATO block. The study shows that the use of the "anti-NATO" theme could be a major asset in the build-up of political identity in countries of the former USSR. Accordingly, it is demonstrated that the deputies' declaration is in fact an enactment of political power on the home front, exercised within a pragmatic frame ensuring credibility and acceptance of messages. The principal components of this frame include a (quasi)realistic assessment, simplicity of expression, and moderate idealism. All three contribute to the perception of responsibility on the part of the leader. A successful enforcement of the concept of responsibility is thus crucial to the successful enactment of leadership and power. The analysis of indicators of power and responsibility in the text bridges considerations of pragmatic, sociolinguistic, and psychological nature. The major questions addressed are the use of assertion and repeated exposure, construction of argument and fear appeals, organization of text and sentence arrangement, and the role of intended vagueness.
intertextual anlaysis of two texts in the festschrift discourse
This paper compares two introductions in the Festschrift discourse, one written by Japanese scholars in honor of Toshio Nakio (Chiba, et al., 1994), and one written by Western scholars in honor of Lila Gleitman (Jo Napoli & Kegl, 1991). While the Japanese text finds sociocultural explanations in Confucian principles of showing the students through the door, passing on knowledge and being a model for people to follow, and in the hierarchical teacher-student relationship, the English text illustrates the sociocultural value of originality, individual contributions, and collegiality between professors and former graduate students.
literacy when they only want to hear the words
the word: the ethnolexicological art of Sundanese Kirata
This paper examines the production of kirata, a form of verbal art practiced by the Sundanese of West Java, Indonesia. Though the misleading term folk etymology has been applied to kirata and related practices in Javanese and Balinese, I suggest that this phenomenon might be more fruitfully characterized as a type of performed ethnolexicology so as to highlight its characteristics as a method of lexical recomposition. In the Western linguistic tradition such practices have been associated with etymologizing, but the example of kirata calls into question whether such recomposition must be ë(folk-)etymologically construed. When viewed in cultural context, the practice of kirata emerges as a crucial mechanism for Sundanese text-building and reveals metapragmatic norms by which language may be strategically reshaped to social ends.
to the machine: the dialogue of history and memory in a Mexican American
My paper examines an autobiographical monologue which Rodolfo García, an elderly Mexican American vaudevillian from San Antonio, Texas, recorded himself on his home tape recorder. In the monologue, Mr. García moves from a temporally ordered story to a performance of several song parodies he once sang on stage. He thus brings diachronic and synchronic modes of apprehension of past events (i.e. narrative and reverie) into dialogue. By presenting a working-class masculine mexicano self grounded in a family tradition of performance, he responds creatively to social tensions within his community, as well as those inherent in the ethnographic encounter.
and texture in Zenzontepec Chatino oral tradition
ŒThe Serpent and the Eagle¹ is one of many legends which are told by the Zenzontepec Chatino in Oaxaca, Mexico. Like many Chatino legends, this one is tied not only to the tradition of the people, but to a geographical site in the region. Zenzontepec Chatino, one of three Zapotecan dialects of Chatino, is the least studied dialect of the three and remains for the most part undocumented. In this paper, I introduce this legend for the first time and show how the juxtaposition of context, text and texture serve not only to document the history of the land and the people, but also create a mosaic of poetics which define the oral tradition in this community. The structure of this narrative will be presented in terms of poetic devices such as repetition, and contextualization cues which include the use of evidentials.
about song: interpretive practices and local identity in Nepal
this paper, based on original fieldwork, I analyze songs sung in a Sherpa
and Tamang community in the hills of Nepal. I begin by addressing the
fact that most song performances in the village are in Nepal's national
language, Nepali, a third language for most villagers. I then go on
to examine lyric poetics and local interpretive practices, which emphasize
personalized, local, and situational interpretations of these ambiguous
and flexible lyrics. I argue that it is crucial to pay attention to
local understandings of how language works to create meanings when analyzing
texts such as these.