Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

Lectures and Workshops
Center for the Study of Language and Society

Multiethnolect and dialect in and across communities

Tuesday, 2018/05/29, 18:15


Das Forum Language and Society ist eine Reihe von Gastvorträgen zu Themen der Soziolinguistik. Doktorierende der GSH können sich die Teilnahme als Zuhörende mit 0,25 ECTS pro Vortrag anrechnen lassen.

Event organizer: Forum Language and Society
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Pia Quist, University of Copenhagen
Date: 2018/05/29
Time: 18:15 - 19:45
Locality: F-122
Unitobler
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge

It has been central to third wave variationist sociolinguistics to break away from a view of communities as coherent and centralized “microcosms” that reflect global categories such as class and ethnicity. Penelope Eckert (2000, 2004) has stressed the importance of seeing community-based practices in a co-constitutive relationship between and across communities’ “insides” and “outsides” (Eckert 2004: 109). In this talk, I will present results from an ethnographic study of variation in the social housing neighborhood of Vollsmose in Denmark. In terms of demography, geography and physical structure, there are few places similar to Vollsmose in Denmark, and arguably in Scandinavia in general. In fact, Vollsmose may be compared to such places as the banlieues of Paris and some social housing estates in the US (Wacquant 1996). Adopting a relational view on Vollsmose I shall argue for a need to extend a third wave perspective to the sociolinguistic study of ethnolects and multiethnolects (e.g. Cheshire et.al 2011, Quist & Svendsen 2010, Wiese 2009) as a way to account for the heterogeneity and fluidity of multiethnic communities. It will be argued that communities which are typically perceived of as ‘parallel societies’ or ‘ghettos’ in public discourse, form part of the larger (speech) communities in co-constructing the specific contexts for new emergent speech styles and local identities. I will present analyses of variation in the use of multiethnolect and the traditional local dialect (called Funen) with a particular focus on the supra-segmental features ‘multiethnolect staccato’ and ‘Funen intonation’, and the segmental variables (t) and (et). In line with Eckert, I will demonstrate “how the “outsides” are articulated with the “insides” of communities and how language, along with other semiotic resources, brings the “outside” in and the “inside” out” (Eckert 2004: 109). Influence goes ‘in both directions’ as multiethnolect becomes locally meaningful in contrast to not only standard language but also the regional dialect, and as features associated with multiethnolects are taken up by speakers outside of their perceived places of origin (Quist & Svendsen 2018). I will conclude that multiethnolect is not a fixed set of linguistic features specific to a defined locality. Rather features associated with multiethnolect form part of a multitude of linguistic resources (including regional dialect, uses of English loanwords, and standard language), which are all used stylistically in the context of a local social landscape to index not only ethnicity, but also qualities such as localness, toughness and masculinity.