Texas Linguistics Forum Vol. 45 (2002)

SALSA X Proceedings

Texas Linguistic Forum Vol. 45.
(2003) Austin: Texas Linguistic Forum
Inger Mey, Ginger Pizer,Hsi-Yao Su, Susan Szmania, eds.


Beier, Christine
Creating Community: Feasting and Chanting among the Nantis of Peruvian Amazonia
Abstract † Article (PDF)

Bigham, Douglas S.
Dude, What Was I Talking About? A New Sociolinguistic Framework for Marijuana-Intoxicated Speech
Abstract † Article (PDF)

Choi, Jinsook
The Role of Language in Ideological Construction of Mayan Identites in Guatemala
AbstractArticle (PDF)

England, Nora C.
Maya Linguists, Linguistics, and the Politics of Identity
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Fellin, Luciana
Language Ideologies, Language Socialization and Language Revival in an Italian Alpine Community
AbstractArticle (PDF)

French, Brigittine M.
The Maya Movement and Modernity: Local Kaqchikel Linguistic Ideologies and the Problems of Progress
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Kamper, David
When Does "Yes" Mean "Yes"?: Determinacy of Communication in Union Organizing
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Leza, Christina
Grammatical Images of Perception and Legitimacy: An Example from Jacaltec Maya
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Mathien, James
"Rudie's In Court Now": The Rudeboy and the Role of Popular Vernaculars in the Politicization of Jamaican Music
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Messing, Jacqueline
Fractal Recursivity in Ideologies of Language, Identity and Modernity in Tlaxcala, Mexico
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Michael, Lev
Reformulating the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Discourse, Interaction, and Distributed Cognition
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Moll, Laura, A.
Strategies Used in O'odham Creation Legends to Present Cultural Values
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Pomerantz, Anita
How Patients Handle Lay Diagnoses during Medical Consultations
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Ruzycki-Shinabarger, Amy D.
Kicking Butt Up and Down DM3: The Discourse of Grrrl Online Computer Gamers
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Schieffelin, Bambi B.
Language and Place in Children's Worlds
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Smythe, Susan
Reconstructing Lost Phonemes in Huehuetla Tepehua Using "Affectionate Speech"
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Walter, Mary Ann
Kalaam, Kalaarbaam: An Arabic Speech Disguise in Hadramaut
AbstractArticle (PDF)

Yaeger-Dror, Malcah and Hall-Lew, Lauren
Presidential Use of Negation
AbstractArticle (PDF)


Christine Beier, University of Texas at Austin
Creating Community: Feasting and Chanting among the Nantis of Peruvian Amazonia

This paper discusses novel verbal performances that have emerged in the Nanti community of Montetoni in Peruvian Amazonia. This community began holding village-wide feasts in 1997; today they feast at roughly one-week intervals. During this 24-hour event, villagers form groups in the communal spaces of the village to chant together while drinking oburoxi (a yuca beer). Individual chanters interpolate improvised lines, or xarintaa, between short formulae chanted by the group. Xarintaa is complex, provocative, and highly creative in both form and content. I will discuss the novel sociocultural circumstances that accompanied the emergence of feasting practices and provide examples of chant formulae and xarintaa.

Douglas S. Bigham, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Dude, What Was I Talking About? A New Sociolinguistic Framework for Marijuana-Intoxicated Speech

The effects of intoxication on speech is an under-researched field. Of the research that has been done, most works are concerned with mechanical errors in speech production, and then only intoxication by beer/liquor is considered. This work is to be a two-fold project creating a sociolinguistic framework for the effects of marijuana intoxication on the communicative aspects of speech. The first part, presented here, concerns fitting the peculiarities of marijuana-intoxicated speech into a framework for conversation analysis. Namely, that marijuana-intoxicated speech more readily reflects the communication rules for meetings than for regular conversation. This paper, then, is the inter-personal aspect of marijuana-intoxicated (stoned) speech.

Jinsook Choi, University at Albany, SUNY
The Role of Language in Ideological Construction of Mayan Identities in Guatemala

This paper examines the ways in which Mayan identities are ideologically constructed through language practices. It explores language ideologies based on the analysis of metalinguistic commentaries and code switching incidents gathered in Momostenango, a K'iche' Maya town in Guatemala. Employing Gal and Irvine (1995, 2000)'s semiotic notions, this study shows that K'iche' Mayan language serves as an icon that portrays and as an index that marks Mayan identities. I argue that social categories are not only associated with certain forms of speech, but also constructed based on typification of certain forms of speech onto which ethnoracial stratification is projected.

Nora C. England, University of Texas at Austin
Maya Linguists, Linguistics, and the Politics of Identity

Mayas are engaged in a cultural revitalization movement which seeks to both reaffirm cultural values and open political space which has been closed to them since the arrival of the Spanish. Language has taken a central position in the definition of Maya identity and in the demands, both implicit and explicit, for Maya cultural and political autonomy. Mayas who are linguists play an active role in the Maya movement, from technical and political perspectives. This paper examines the contributions made by Maya linguists in three areas: 1) to the Maya movement, where the nature of the interaction is largely political, 2) to the modification of language ideologies, which involves analysis and reaction to ideas about language that have been generated both internally and externally; and 3) to linguistics, where Mayas have both benefited from and formulated a critique of the contributions of academic linguistics.

Luciana Fellin, San Diego State University
Language Ideologies, Language Socialization, and Language Revival in an Italian Alpine Community

This study investigates the language ideologies and practices underlying a dialect revival occurring in a multilingual community in the Italian Alps. Focusing on caretaker-child interactions it highlights the role of overt and covert language ideologies and practices in sustaining the resurgence of the local language after years of convergence towards the national standard. In addition to explicit ideologies supporting the local code as marker of a rediscovered cultural heritage and local identity and the promotion of biligualism as a cognitive advantage, specific code-switching, code-mixing and "Prestigious Practices" contribute to the resurgence of the local language supporting its vitality and transmission.

Brigittine M. French, University of Iowa
The Maya Movement and Modernity: Local Kaqchikel Linguistic Ideologies and the Problem of Progress

I investigate the language ideologies of bilingual urban Maya-Kaqchikels from Chimaltenango to assess: 1) to what extent their language shift from Kaqchikel to Spanish is a rejection of collective Maya identity and 2) what advances Pan-Mayas have made among Maya citizens in revalorizing the ideological connection between language and collective Maya identity. I argue that the discourse of progress, made up of the "traditional past" ideologically linked with Kaqchikel and, the "modern present" ideologically linked with Spanish, are the most salient language ideologies fueling language shift in the area. Even as ordinary Maya-Kaqchikels construct the discourse of progress, they also articulate a supplementary discourse about Mayan languages that links Kaqchikel with Maya ancestors in the "traditional past" and with Maya culture in the "modern" present. It is this reconfiguration of the discourse of progress that shows the effects of Pan-Maya activists and scholars on language revitalization.

David Kamper, University of California, Los Angeles
When "Yes" Doesn't Mean "Yes": Determinacy of Communication in Union Organizing

This paper connects the work linguistic anthropology with recent labor studies scholarship that examines union organizing. Focussing on the one-to-one interactions between union organizers and workers, what I label "organizing moments," I assert that language use and communication skills are critical to accomplishing the union goal of garnering support from workers and achieving discrete political and economic goals. This paper studies the membership drives of two unions through ethnographic observation, interviews and discourse analysis. This paper examines the interrelationship between the language ideologies of union organizers, workers, and management, and how these ideologies inform organizing moments and determine their efficacy.

Christina Leza, University of Arizona
Grammatical Images of Perception and Legitimacy: An Example from Jacaltec Maya

This paper will further pursue the role of imagery in the development of linguistic relationships through an analysis of some aspects of Jacaltec Maya classification with a focus on verbs of perception. This study assumes a discursive process in the development of significant linguistic parallels. The assumption of discourse in the production of grammatical meaning links this discussion significantly to issues in linguistic ideology. This paper will consider how the discursive production of meaning by reference to salient imagery relates to the discursive production of legitimacy within speaking communities.

James Mathien, University of Chicago
Rudie's in Court Now: The Rudeboy and the Role of Popular Vernaculars in the Politicization of Jamaican Music

Using examples from the music of Prince Buster, this essay will demonstrate the role played by the use of vernacular language registers in the establishment of a body of political commentary within the lyrical content of Jamaican popular music in the mid- to late 1960s. Predating both the emergence of explicitly Rastafarian content and the use of "Dread Talk" in song lyrics, these commentaries relied on the creative manipulation of a variety of language registers. In the work of Prince Buster in particular, manipulations of language and representations of speakers were central to the creation of a simultaneous critique of urban crime, political violence and the persistence of colonial forms of authority in newly independent Jamaica.

Jacqueline Messing, University of Arizona
Fractal Recursivity in Ideologies of Language and Modernity in Tlaxcala, Mexico

This paper examines an ethnographic example of the semiotic process identified by Irvine & Gal (2000) as fractal recursivity. Examples of recursivity in Mexicano and Spanish are analyzed, showing how users of these languages in Tlaxcala, Mexico construct multiple local ideologies of language, identity and progress through talk, as they define themselves in relation to others. A focus on the linguistic ways that Tlaxcalans construct difference ideologically sheds light on how these ideologies of difference may contribute to language shift there. Recursivity offers a productive means for understanding how relationships between indigenous peoples, the nation, and processes of modernization are involved in language shift.

Lev Michael, University of Texas at Austin
Reformulating the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Discourse, Interaction, and Distributed Cognition

This paper considers a reformulation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in terms of socially-distributed cognition and discourse. In this reformulation, the impact of language on cognition is seen as operating via the effect of discursive practices on communicative interaction, which directly shapes distributed cognitive processes that emerge in groups of interacting individuals.

I support this reformulation with evidence from case studies of students working to solve physics problems collaboratively. I show that the frequency with which individuals communicate with each another (an aspect of discursive practice) affects how different groups explore solutions to their problems (an aspect of group-level cognitive activity).

Laura A. Moll, University of Arizona
Strategies Used in Tohono O'odham Creation Legends to Present Cultural Values

Within a discourse-centered approach to language and culture, recordings of cultural legends are specific occurrences of discourse that are linked to the past through other tellings of the same and related legends, but are also elements in the ongoing discursive process of the definition of cultural values. I investigate strategies used within a series of Tohono O'odham legends to present moral judgements and values, following the work of Labov, Bakhtin, Hill and Zepeda, identifying different affective stances the storyteller assumes with regards to the events being reported, and focusing on recurrent themes that shape the version of cultural values presented.

Anita Pomerantz, University of Albany, SUNY
Practices for Delicately Seeking Information: What are the Alternatives?

Participants in interaction have ways of seeking information such that the activity appears to be something other than seeking information. One type of occasion in which participants seek information without going on record is when they anticipate that the co-participant might make unwanted inferences had they asked directly. In using off-the-record information seeking strategies, participants attempt to avoid the negative inferences that their co-participants possibly might have made.

In situations in which a participant uses an information seeking strategy that seems designed to lessen the threat of the co-participant's making unwanted inferences, those strategies are not necessarily successful. What happens when an initial off-the-record information seeking attempt is not successful? One option for the participant is to employ a different information seeking method or format. If the participant employs an on-the-record information seeking method or format, he or she may incorporate different methods to deal with concerns about negative inferences.

Prof. Pomerantz will discuss two case studies. The first case involves a patient who wanted to find out his blood pressure reading during the medical consultation. His initial attempt was formatted as a clarification of the doctor's report; his subsequent attempt was an on-the-record inquiry with an accompanying account for asking. The second case concerns a friend who attempted to seek information from a friend about her activities on the previous evening. Her initial attempt was a my side telling; the subsequent attempt was an on-the record inquiry. Prof. Pomerantz will conclude the talk with comments on the analytic concept of 'alternatives.'

Bambi B. Schieffelin, New York University
Language and Place in Children's Worlds

Children's verbal practices remain an under exploited resource in linguistic anthropology for understanding how children create their social worlds, as well as how they are socialized into existing ones. As all speech activities occur in particular places, the notion of emplacement is central to issues of identity, narrative, language choice and memory. Language socialization research from several societies illustrates the importance of place and the role of language(s) in mediating social relationships and remembering them.

Amy D. Ruzycki-Shinaberger, Arizona State University
Kicking Butt up and down DM3: The Discourse of Grrrl Computer Gamers

Computer gaming is often considered a predominantly male domain. Thornborrow (1998) indicates that, in order to participate in the discourse of computer gaming, women must adopt a male-centered discourse. However, the discourse of females and males playing two online games indicates that gender-based differences are diminished in this environment, suggesting that the discourse of the online gaming community is less influenced by gender-based expectations, and that gamers, both male and female, utilize a less-blatantly gendered discourse. This study includes a gender-based analysis of the use of characteristics such as emoticons, war metaphors, inclusive and exclusive pronouns, gender references, and screen names.

Susan Smythe, University of Texas at Austin
Reconstructing Lost Phonemes in Huehuetla Tepehua Using "Affectionate Speech"

"Affectionate speech" in Huehuetla Tepehua (HT), a Totonacan language, is a manner of speaking that is used when the speaker feels great affection for or is much older than the addressee and that is accomplished by the shifting of certain consonant phonemes. Affectionate speech is also a useful tool in the reconstruction of two lost HT phonemes, the plain and glottalized uvular stops. In this presentation, I explain the production and utilization of affectionate speech, examine the ability of HT speakers of various ages to produce it, and discuss the effectiveness of using it for reconstructive work.

Maryann Walter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
An Arabic Language Game of Hadramaut

I document an Arabic-based language game of Hadramaut, Yemen which was briefly mentioned in the 1930s by Harold Ingrams. Ingrams comments on the social context of its use, but provides little description and no concrete examples. I present a description here obtained during recent fieldwork in Yemen and give information on the geographical distribution of the game. Finally, I outline its current sociocultural significance and contrast this with its status in Ingrams' time, showing a historical development with respect to the status of the speakers using it and the goal for which they resorted to speech disguise.

Malcah Yaeger-Dror & Lauren Hall-Lew, University of Arizona
Prosodic and Syntactic Prominence on Negatives Used by US Presidents

This paper compares variation in contraction strategies in presidential news conferences and debates. The initial hypothesis is that variation in register and stance have a strong effect on tokens of not-negation, especially when the speaker is doing a repair. The analysis presents evidence that variation is also correlated with a speaker's dialect area, age, and even political affiliation. The paper expands upon previous research by showing the significant influence of situational and demographic factors on each speaker's syntactic and prosodic choices.