Co-constructing Meaning in Socio- and Applied Linguistics
Caught in the Middle: Navigating Home and School Identities
Avital and Marie Fenger
Gesture and Interaction Formation in the Blind
Bishop and Sherry Hicks
Bimodal Bilingualism: Code Blending in Written Emails by Hearing, Native Signers of American Sign Language
Discrimination in Service Encounters: A Case-Study of Brazilian Narratives
M. García Sánchez
More than Just Games: Language Socialization in an Immigrant Children's Peer Group
Hiramoto and Andrew Wong
Deconstructing 'Japanese Women's Language': A Prosodic Analysis
To Be a Developed Nation is to Speak as a Developed Nation: Constructing Tropes of Transparency and Development Through Syntax, Register, and Context in the Political Oratory of Imerina, Madagascar
Abstract + Article (PDF)
Life in an Unbalanced Bilingual Society: How the Historical and Current Situation Affects Bilingual Preschoolers
Representation of Yucatec Maya in Yikal Maya Than; Revista de Literatura Maya
The Meaning of "Occupation": Linguistic and Semiotic Co-construction of the Jerusalem Women in Black Vigil
The paper proposes an approach to the study of kinship as a domain of social relations. The traditional study of kinship was formulated around several problematic assumptions, such as the idea that kinship is fundamentally a system of genealogical relations, or that "kinship systems" can be conceptualized as shared mental models. I argue that neither the genealogical reduction nor a mentalistic approach to kinship is particularly plausible. The difficulty with the first is that kinship terms are frequently used to express fictive, metaphoric or ritual kinship, and thus to express social relations that contradict known genealogical facts. The first half of the paper discusses such "tropic" uses of kinship terms and the way in which language users recognize these uses and their effects. Simply put, the difference between literal and tropic usage depends on whether the semiotic sketch of social relations indexed by the kinterm is congruent with independently readable contextual facts of social relations holding between participants. These tropes can also be normalized as habits of speaking, which, in turn, can iteratively be troped upon.
Little is known about the resources that the blind use in coordinating their interaction with one another. While past research has tried to determine whether the blind are capable of producing certain behaviors, visual impairment has not been traditionally considered as a communication problem. This research is a part on an ongoing study that attempts to understand the interaction of blind in a more holistic way. The study is conducted in the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and involves videotaping of classroom interaction and naturally occurring dialogues of various age groups within the school. The findings are analyzed frame by frame in order to capture the complexity of the interaction. The main topics analyzed in the study are: the synchronization of gestures and speech within individuals and between individuals; the creation of focused interaction in naturally occurring conversations and in a classroom setting; the organization of audience attention by means of audible gestures; reliance on the tactile sense in explaining ideas and in teaching children "how to feel" and categorize the world; overcoming sensory impairment by manipulating other available cues in time and space.
The study of bilingualism in hearing people from deaf families offers an opportunity to analyze how native users of both a signed and a spoken language combine aspects of both languages simultaneously (code blending). Unlike spoken language bilinguals who must stop one language before beginning another, a bimodal bilingual has the capability to speak and sign at the same time. This preliminary research focuses on emails taken from a forum on the Internet for hearing people with deaf parents. Two hundred and seventy five lines from one hundred emails were collected and analyzed. The study shows evidence of strong ASL grammatical influence in these emails (an absence of overt subjects, overt objects, determiners, copula, prepositions) as well as unique structures such as nonstandard verb inflections and overgeneralization of s'. The overall results of this analysis are compared to Internet Relay Chat as described by Werry and Mowbray (2001), and TDD writings (telecommunications device for deaf people) (Mather 1991).
In this paper, I analyze the effectiveness of Richard Burr's campaign in the North Carolina 2004 US Senate race. In looking at the transcripts from his ads, I argue that the language of pro-Burr advertisements enabled his campaign to make false claims about his opponent and that the use of casual conversation within his ads implicated meaning which was not entailed. I also contend that Burr's use of phatic communication tactics helped build solidarity with his audience, and finally, that by not identifying the cultural standing of the opinions within them, Burr's ads helped sway undecided voters to his side. In addition, I examine the advertisements of his opponent, Erskine Bowles, to show how his strategy which did not engage in these linguistic tactics contributed to the failure of his campaign.
This paper explores the notion of performance in the study of language and identity by examining how highly performative moments of language use relate to everyday identities and ideologies. The data for this study were collected during three semesters of fieldwork at an American high school, and they consist of instances in which students engaged in highlighted linguistic performances, speaking directly into the microphone being used to record them. My analysis suggests that these moments are rich sites for understanding identities and ideologies in the local context of the high school. They reveal students' language ideologies pertaining to specific kinds of stereotypical personas (rappers, singers, news reporters) as well as laying bare ideologies of race, sex, and humor. In addition, they provide a glimpse of how rules of linguistic practice, such as what counts as appropriate, funny, or worthy of being recorded, are explicitly negotiated in a context that has been transformed by the presence of a microphone.
The analytical focus of this paper is the language used in narratives of racial discrimination in service encounters in Brazil. Specifically, it provides an analysis of the language in narratives of overt discrimination -- those describing episodes in which a racial insult is uttered; and narratives of covert discrimination -- in which tellers conclude that they were discriminated by interpreting the events against their background of similar situations. To convey the sense that they experienced prejudice, tellers rely on the sequential description of verbal actions, or speech acts, during the encounter and on how the perpetrators of discrimination willingly break away from accepted rules of politeness for a typical service encounter in their society. This study adds to the current research on race and language and to the research on narrative analysis and linguistics in Brazilian Portuguese, contributing with an analysis of the language used to describe prejudice and discrimination in narratives.
This paper examines code and style shifting during sales transactions based on two market case studies from highland Ecuador. Bringing together ideas of linguistic economy with work on stylistic variation and ethnohistorical research on Andean markets, I study bartering, market calls and sales pitches to show how sellers create stylistic performances distinguished by contrasts of code, register and poetic features. The interaction of the symbolic value of language with the economic values of the market presents a place to examine the relationship between discourse and the material world.
This paper focuses on the emergent literacy program of the Grupo de Mujeres por la Paz, an Ixil Mayan women’s organization of Nebaj, Guatemala, and the discourses which surround this project. Through a combination of ethnographic approaches to naturally produced language and the methodologies of discourse analysis, I examine the structuring metaphor of the huipil, traditional woven blouses, in the group’s discourses about literacy. The discourses the women produce contribute to discussions about the political implications of literacy in indigenous languages, both in the case of Mayan languages and for endangered indigenous languages in general. This paper also builds on the idea that significant aspects of thought and language arise from, and are grounded in, embodiment. Thus the physical experience of weaving huipiles can be used to create meaning in emergent discourses. During a time when Guatemala’s political and cultural norms are being reconstructed, the women’s words offer a significant opportunity to see the creative and productive power of language through metaphor in redefining social life.
Social success through interaction and participation in the activities of the peer group is crucial to immigrant children's healthy development and evolving membership in society. Research on child-to-child interaction has stressed the importance of language practices in the peer group for the elaboration of children's cultures, for second language acquisition, and for children's cognitive development. This paper focuses on the socializing, interactional, and linguistic embodied practices that immigrant non-native speaking (NNS) children engage in when undertaking socio-cultural activities, namely a game of hopscotch, and it explores how immigrant children become mentors in facilitating cultural learning, competent pragmatic use of language, as well as in co-constructing norms of social conduct in their community. The conclusions underscore the importance of immigrant children's linguistic practices in their peer groups in order to understand larger developmental processes of socialization into a second language and culture.
Given Japanese women's frequent use of high F0 and wide pitch ranges, researchers have claimed that these are features of Japanese women's language. However, the performative turn has discouraged scholars from assuming a one-to-one mapping between language and gender identity. Viewed from this perspective, Japanese women's language--an ideological construct made up of linguistic resources with gendered meanings -- is available to both men and women for the construction of different personae. This paper examines the production and perception of stereotypically masculine and feminine speech styles in Japanese. Our study results imply that gender norms are enforced differently for Japanese men than for Japanese women. Men who adopt masculine styles may sound impolite, but at least, they conform to gender norms. On the other hand, women who adopt masculine styles--which are already perceived as impolite--are even more impolite because they flout gender norms.
To Be a Developed Nation is to Speak as a Developed Nation: Constructing Tropes of Transparency and Development Through Syntax, Register, and Context in the Political Oratory of Imerina, Madagascar
This paper discusses ongoing stylistic and contextual variations in the everyday oratorical performance of Malagasy national politics in urban Imerina. It looks to the ways in which these variations over time reflect and shape shifting social dynamics of political engagement and emerging social formation, shaping political process and modes of public participation in democratic process. Working specifically from recordings and transcriptions of conversations concerning writing campaign and presidential speeches for the country's current president, the performance of those speeches known as political <<kabary>>, and talk about those speeches by other political genres such as political cartoonists, this paper furthers other studies in language, society, and interaction concerning how stylistic and contextual variations of an otherwise highly presupposed oratorical form are emblematic of larger social processes inculcated in localized projects of global modernity.
this paper, I will argue that language variation among women in
the Israeli feminist community can best be understood as both
a natural outcome of feminist consciousness and an integrated
aspect of feminist culture and social change within Israeli society.
I will present an analysis of narratives from two Israeli feminists
about their strategic use of language in different social interactional
contexts. The analysis will focus on how a comparison of their
metalinguistic discourse with their observed linguistic behavior
can provide valuable insight into the manner in which these speakers
use language to unite aspects of their social identities while
engaging in feminist social change work. I will also argue that
understanding how speakers make use of language to negotiate their
social identities in complex multi-layered societies can lead
to better understanding of the social meaning of inter-speaker
and intra-speaker variation within a community of practice
This presentation will focus on the interactive organization of verbal and nonverbal behaviors (gestures, head movements, facial expressions, gaze, posture) in conversations involving a person with aphasia. Conversation Analysis will be used to examine how different types of nonverbal behaviors may serve as turn constructional units, either as such in the turn, or as combined with verbal turn constructional units. With the help of videotaped examples from aphasic conversations, it will be demonstrated how a person with aphasia may take different kinds of nonverbal behaviors in use during turn construction activity. The analysis reveals many systematic nonverbal behaviors used by aphasic speakers while constructing turns. Of special interest are extended conversational sequences where participants co-construct understanding on turn-by-turn basis, in a way that a person with aphasia recruits several nonverbal acts with or without lexical elements and the interlocutor produces candidate understandings. The presentation will display, how the participants build conversational context in order to constitute shared meanings, and how they in this way jointly co-construct a conversation.
The co-construction of meaning, following Jacoby and Ochs' (1995:171) broad definition of a "joint creation of a form, interpretation, stance, action, activity, identity, institution, skill, ideology, emotion, or other culturally meaningful reality," makes several assumptions regarding collaboration, shared knowledge, and creation over time. This paper pursues these assumptions, focusing especially on the third assumption of creation over time in relation to talk. Drawing on work by Arundale (1999) and van Dijk (1997; 1999), the co-constructive model of talk discussed here incorporates the notions of expectation-based discourse processing and context models by both participants of a dialogue. Arguing for the advantages of using a co-constructive approach to interaction analysis, we then explore the emergent aspect of dialogic meaning and meaning construction in the context of the presence and the absence of collaboration.
connection of co-constructing meaning to co-constructing identity
is discussed, again using the factors of collaboration, shared
knowledge, and creation over time. Finally, a brief application
of these notions to the field of applied linguistics concludes
Identity and language have been exhaustively examined, yet anonymity remains under theorized. Studies assert that because computer-based communication lacks social cues, it will be hostile. Yet, this position underestimates identifying information in talk and fails to account for countless anonymous, non-hostile, Internet interactions. This paper argues that hostility often results from interlocutors attempts to reduce anonymity. Based on an online ethnographic study, this paper examines real-time conversation to see how speakers use linguistic resources to reveal themselves as technical experts. Maintaining Internet anonymity is possible. However, actual levels of anonymity must be investigated in specific contexts. This study analyzes the interplay between identity and anonymity and provides a more nuanced approach to anonymity theorization. Further, it contributes to computer-based communication research by questioning how unspecified levels of anonymity cause hostility. Instead this research shows that hostility is used to reduce anonymity during interactive identity displays.
Framing research has demonstrated that seemingly trivial cues can compel people to unwittingly employ historical and conceptual analogies in their judgments and decisions. The reported research explores phrasal idioms' potential as an unobtrusive means of analogically framing decision scenarios. We asked undergraduates to read different versions of a managerial decision scenario and to choose between two response options. The scenario versions differed in the number of business-as-sports idioms (e.g., "sales team") used to describe situational attributes. People's preference for analogically consistent response options was significantly influenced by the number of idioms present. However, those who preferred the consistent option rarely referred to the analogy when explaining their choices, instead referring to scenario attributes that did not differ across scenario versions. These results suggest that idioms can exert an implicit influence on decision-making, compelling people to strive for analogical consistency without subjective awareness.
of color from low-income neighborhoods who do college-prep
school work have to negotiate the identities that they have
developed in their neighborhoods with the academic identities
demanded by this educational setting.
The Preuss School established in 1999 at UCSD as our campus response to the elimination of Affirmative Action in University of California admissions, offers a college-prep curriculum exclusively to students of color from low-income backgrounds in grades 6-12. Recognizing that the entering students may lack preparation for this rigorous instruction, the school adds a comprehensive system of academic and social supports, including a longer school day, longer school year, and "Saturday Academies;" tutoring by UCSD undergraduates; mentoring by community members; and parent participation. The school has obtained a certain measure of success: 90% of the first graduating class attend 4 year colleges.
Students are bussed to Preuss-which takes them out of neighborhoods where they grew up and now go to school on a big university situated in wealthy neighborhood. Using the language students use to describe their experiences, a variety of responses to this situation will be presented, including: "code switching" (in which students adopt an academic identity at school and maintain their home identity in the neighborhood), "caught in the middle" (in which students feel torn between school and parental expectations). We do not find much evidence of students expressing the need to 'act white.'
I will speculate on the institutional arrangements that contribute to these expressions of identity.
In many communities, children's pretend play is a context for acquiring narrative skills, role-specific registers, and meta-communicative awareness, among other key features of language use. As a vernacular dramatic form, pretend play may involve the creative incorporation of characters, settings, and plots drawn from mass media as well as everyday social interaction. This paper illustrates the multiply mediated intertextuality of a "playing school" performance by Miskitu indigenous children in the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual community of Corn Island, Nicaragua. Transcribed excerpts reveal the fluid shifting of linguistic codes and communicative modalities in children's play, interweaving texts from everyday social interaction, mass media, and written material. The pretend play dialogue is not merely a reproduction of mass-mediated scenes; through the manipulation of performance frames and disputes over acceptable action, it becomes a local medium of peer socialization as children negotiate the boundaries of appropriate discourse and behavior.
For nearly 500 years the Spanish language has had a major impact on the culture of the Southwestern portion of the United States, and many people in this area seek opportunities for their children to become bilingual. However, for native English speakers the goal of bilingualism is often unattained because of the stratified society that we live in. In this essay, I argue that because there is an imbalance between Spanish and English in the greater society, there is an imbalance of success in Spanish-English dual-immersion bilingual programs in the area. Furthermore, the imbalance of the status of Spanish and English in New Mexico is not due simply to greater numbers of English speakers versus Spanish speakers, but rather to a long and intricate history of the state. The data for this study, which were collected in a dual-immersion preschool classroom in New Mexico, suggest that children as young as four years old already view an imbalance in the status of the two languages in their society.
This paper addresses the problems of how Yucatec Maya, an indigenous language spoken in Mexico, is represented in a media discourse, Yikal Maya Than, a magazine of Maya literature which was published by urban intellectuals in M?rida, the capital city of Yucat?n, during 1940's, and how such representation is related to the creation of the image of Maya Indians. Discussing the image of Maya Indians presented in Other's discourse, it is important to note that this magazine is one of the earliest mass publications that features texts written in Maya. In this paper, I analyze several Maya texts featured in this magazine in terms of their linguistic form and contents and examine how the image of the Maya speech community is constructed and projected onto the social world through the representation of their language in discourse.
This paper concentrates on the process of creating a standard orthography for the Kuna language, an indigenous language spoken by approximately 50,000 to 70,000 people in Panama. It is based on the discourse-centered approach, using excerpts of spoken and written discourse from Kuna scholars, writers and activists to show how the development of a standard orthopgraphy is being conceived of by the Kuna community. I also examine how the Kuna community is looking to preserve cultural meaning in orthography by maintaining the morphophonemic structure of words, expressing important cultural understandings that can be obscured in phonetic writing systems. This paper explores how imbuing writing with meanings, beliefs and cultural understandings is why and how a written abstraction of a language becomes a writing system. By looking at how the Kuna are conceptualizing and realizing a standard writing system, it becomes clear how written Western traditions have structured literacy and how other knowledge systems, like that of the Kuna, are challenging Western notions of writing.
For more than 80 years, the development of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) has been the subject of fierce debate. Long-standing controversy about whether AAVE's features come completely from English settler dialects (the Anglicist position) or show evidence of creole influence (the Creolist position) has been joined more recently by the provocative claim that AAVE is a creation of the 20th century, an instance of linguistic divergence fuelled by unprecedented social segregation as Blacks migrated to the urban North and West. Some feel that there is or should be a consensus on the correctness of the Anglicist and divergence positions, based on the quantitative and sociohistorical work of the "Ottawa school," as represented, for instance, in Poplack's edited volume, The English History of African American English (2000). In this paper, I demur, noting weaknesses in the quantitative evidence and argumentation , and suggesting that social segregation and opposition between Blacks and Whites were marked enough prior to the 20th century to have created and/or maintained sharp linguistic differences between them.
In the Jerusalem Women in Black vigil, women stand silently for an hour on Friday afternoons, dressed in black, holding hand-shaped signs that read, in Hebrew, Arabic and English, "Stop the Occupation". As Bauman and Briggs have argued for other types of performances, both the form and the content of the vigil emerge from the performance itself, so that no two instances of the vigil are exactly the same. Each week, the women on the vigil along with passersby and counter-demonstrators, co-create the form and meanings of the vigil. I examine the linguistic and semiotic components of the vigil and the negotiation of these components and their meanings by the participants in the weekly performance of the vigil. The co-construction of the vigil's form and meanings blur the performer-audience distinction almost completely. At the heart of this negotiation is a struggle over the meanings of political consensus and dissent, and of gender roles in Israeli society, of the word (and practice of) "occupation", of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself.
Much remains to be learned about the relationship between embodiment--the connection between mind, thought, and physical behaviors--and speaker performance. Although some recent contributions have been made to these issues (e.g. Kendon 2004, Goodwin 2000, Heath 2002), Gibbs (2003) still asserts that most research ignores the importance of embodied behaviors. This study uses discourse analysis (cf. Fairclough 1995, Scollon & Scollon 2001) to examine the part embodiment, stance, and identity play in narrating and organizing aspects of the birth experience. Data come from a videotaped group interaction among 4 females aged 31-51 years. The women use particular embodied communicative practices to convey the role of and/or changes in the woman's and/or baby's body during pregnancy and childbirth (opening of the cervix, induction of labor, physical exposure, crowning of the baby's head, etc.). These practices are also used to show agreement and/or disagreement with others' statements about childbirth and to co-construct shared identities.