International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Published by De Gruyter
Online ISSN: 1613-3668
Print ISSN: 0165-2516
This paper analyzes employment and earnings differentials between Spanish speakers and English speakers in the United States, using data from the 1970, 1980, and 1990 U.S. censuses. The results show that Spanish speakers, both men and women, do not perform as well in the labor market as English speakers. The results also reveal that Spanish-English earnings and unemployment differentials increased slightly in the 1970s, most likely because of rapid growth in the number of Spanish speakers. By contrast, these differentials increased sharply in the 1980s, also a period of rapidly increasing supply. However, there is no evidence that the widening of differentials in the 1980s reflects an increase in the labor market rewards to English language proficiency. Rather, they appear to be the result of Spanish speakers having relatively little of those labor market characteristics, most notably education, whose market value increased dramatically during the 1980s.
Presents a set of maxims as governing the negotiation of identities in conversation and argues that the linguistic code choices that participants make, interpreted according to the negotiation maxims, generate conversational "implicatures" regarding the rights and obligations between speaker and addressee for the current talk exchange. The author proposes that speaking is interactional behavior. While code choices are always situated, they are not a function of situation, but rather of negotiation, so that speaking is seen as a rational process involving decisions. Operating within the frame of markedness, speakers negotiate rights and obligations interactionally by their code choices. The author attempts to demonstrate that a type of conversational implicature different from that introduced by H. P. Grice (1975) is generated in any use of language. It is concluded that speakers use code choice imaginatively, a range of options is open to them within a normative framework, and taking one option rather than another is the negotiation of identities. (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The Negative StereotypeBackground of the StudyTheoretical Background Features of New York Jewish Conversational StyleCross—Stylistic InterchangeCo—stylistic InterchangeThe Opacity of StyleThe Coherence of Conversational StyleAfterword on Accountability
A study of the structure of the speech act known as an apology looked at the differences in linguistic strategies used by advanced nonnative English language learners and native speakers in apology behavior, and whether the differences result from the severity of the offense or the familiarity of the interlocutors. An apology is seen as consisting of five major linguistic strategies: an expression of an apology, an explanation or account of the situation used as an indirect act of apology, an acknowledgment of responsibility, an offer of repair, and/or a promise of forbearance. The 180 subjects included 96 native English-speaking students at 6 United States universities and 84 advanced learners of English at Israeli universities. Two versions of a language use questionnaire designed to elicit apologies in varied situations were administered to the subjects. The responses were categorized by strategies used in the apologies elicited and combination or modification of strategies. The findings indicate that nonnatives lack sensitivity to certain distinctions that natives make between forms for expressing apology and between intensifiers, with the nonnative tendency being to overgeneralize or use a variety of forms. It was also found that nonnatives tend to avoid interjections and curses, and do not consistently produce comments providing the appropriate social lubricant in difficult situations. Whether or not it is worthwhile to teach learners these distinctions is still under consideration. (MSE)
An analysis of the status of Anglo-Nigerian Pidgin (ANP) looks at its origins and evolution in Nigerian history, its location in the Nigerian language situation, and its current sociolinguistic status. It is concluded that ANP possesses linguistic structures that have stabilized enough to give the speaker an impression of good and bad grammar. Beyond the important role it plays as an interethnic lingua franca, it is now commonly used by youths of the same tribe for peer communication, indicating a language function shift and giving it the status of a language. While ANP is the most appropriate and most frequently used lingua franca in Nigeria today, its social prestige and credibility as a language in its own right have not been significantly enhanced. The sociopsychological resistance it is encountering, partly attributable to its history of subjugation, is better explained by the absence of formalization and political recognition in language planning. It is also suggested that the sociolinguistic survival of ANP is not assured, particularly if the political context in Nigeria were to change. Contains 31 references. (MSE)
A study of language maintenance and language shift among Asian Indian speakers of Kannada in the New York metropolitan area within the first generation of settlement in the United States examines this issue from a sociolinguistic perspective. The variables examined include the following: (1) proficiency in and respect for the mainstream language prior to immigration; (2) access to the middle- and upper-class social roles soon after arrival; and (3) diversity of languages or regional subcultures within the ethnic group, including differences in intensity of language loyalty. The study also addresses the claim that Indian bilingualism is conducive to maintenance rather than shift. A 55-item questionnaire was administered to 21 families of Kannada speakers, requesting information about demographic details, opportunities for Kannada use in the United States, indicators of rootedness in the ethnic tradition, parents' use of language in different domains, the children's Kannada proficiency, children's use of and attitude toward Kannada in various situations, parents' efforts toward language maintenance, and parents' attitude toward the future of Kannada in the United States. The results are discussed in light of the language maintenance variables examined and compared with the results of similar studies. (MSE)
Participant characteristics 
Proficiency measures across the three populations 
Total and mean length and range (in words) per corpus and population
Accuracy on morphological and syntactic features in two spontaneous speech samples: summary statistics
Emigration usually requires speakers to become bilingual, and eventually they may even become dominant in their second language. This can lead to a gradual loss of proficiency in the first language, a phenomenon referred to as first language attrition. As migrants become elderly, however, they sometimes report a "reversion" in language dominance, whereby the second language, which they have used in their daily lives for years or decades, recedes and the first language becomes stronger again. There are largely anecdotal cases of communication between such speakers and their children who were not brought up to speak their parents' first language becoming impossible. It is, however, very difficult to separate fact from fiction in such reports. This article will give an overview of changes in lexical access and fluency in the first language of adult migrants. It will assess simplistic predictions for a linear development of first and second languages against a more complex perspective which takes into account psycholinguistic aspects of activation, inhibition, and cognitive ageing. The predictions made on this basis will be tested on a large-scale quantitative investigation of language proficiency among migrants of German and Dutch descent in the Netherlands and Canada.
Diasporic communities formed as a result of recent migration movements face particular issues and challenges in supporting the intergenerational transmission of their heritage language, especially when the language involved is not one that has high visibility and status in the surrounding society. This article is a case study of a mature migrant community in Melbourne, Australia - people of Maltese background - and aims to explore in some depth factors that are promoting and inhibiting intergenerational language transmission within the community. Two groups of factors are identified - facilitating factors and motivating factors - and these are discussed and related to the experiences and attitudes of the interviewees. The parents interviewed represent two vintages of migration: pre- and post-independence in Malta. Superficially, it appears that the post-independence migrants have a stronger commitment to intergenerational language transmission. However, it is argued that this only partially explains the observed differences. For both vintages, changes in the opportunities for diasporic engagement and in government policy settings in both the homeland and in Australia are creating an environment which is more facilitative of intergenerational language transmission for families motivated to support such transmission
This paper explores the issue of documenting an endangered language from the perspective of a community with low levels of literacy, I first discuss the background of the language community with whom I work, the Lavukal people of Solomon Islands, and discuss whether, and to what extent, Lavukaleve is an endangered language. I then go on to discuss the documentation project. My main point is that while low literacy levels and a nonreading culture would seem to make documentation a strange choice as a tool for language maintenance, in fact both serve as powerful cultural symbols of the importance and prestige of Lavukaleve. It is well known that a common reason for language death is that speakers choose not to transmit their language to the next generation (e.g. Winter 1993). Lavukaleve is particularly vulnerable in this respect. By utilizing cultural symbols of status and prestige, the standing of Lavukaleve can be enhanced, thus helping to ensure the transmission of Lavukaleve to future generations.
The notion of language dependency presupposes that there is a hierarchy of languages in a multilingual society, and that each language is assigned a functional role in a multilingual individual's restricted or extended spheres of linguistic interaction. In South Asia, language dependency has resulted in linguistic convergence of two types: (1) convergence within the inner language circle, that is, within South Asian languages; (2) outer linguistic imposition, or dependency on languages outside the South Asian language periphery. This type of convergence is seen in the Persianization and the Anglicization of the inner circle languages. This study is concerned with an aspect of the convergence with English, code-mixing, or the use of one or more languages for consistent transfer of linguistic units from one language into another, resulting in a new code of linguistic interaction. Code-mixing is role-dependent because the religious, social, economic, and regional characteristics of the participants are crucial in understanding the event. It is function-dependent because the specialized use to which a language is being put determines code-mixing. The study explores the formal manisfestations and motivations for code-mixing, the acceptability constraints on it, and its influence on South Asian languages. (CLK)
A new youth language has appeared among teenagers in the Netherlands. The basis of this lingo is Dutch, but this is interlarded with elements derived from immigrant languages. This article examines the social meaning of this language phenomenon. On the one hand, it can be argued that language crossers move to the cultural territory of others out of respect and interest for the people who are associated with it. On the other hand, it can be argued that crossers show no respect for the cultural ownership held by the associated group. Cultural elements associated with another group may even be used to degrade the members of that group. First, I analyze the literal content of the foreign words that are used among teenagers in the Netherlands. Secondly, I infer the social connotation of language crossing from the social relations of the crosser with members of the groups that are associated with the language elements. I use write-in questionnaires completed by a large number of pupils attending schools throughout the Netherlands. Results show that the used words often have a literal meaning that could be understood as offensive, but that words and accents are both generally used with a friendly, social connotation.
In 1996, I worked with what appear to have been the last fluent speakers of Ngarnka, a language of central northern Australia. To the best of my knowledge, the last fluent speaker passed away in 1997 or 1998. In 2000, I began to collect all available information on the language. This article describes some of the challenges that have arisen in working with a language during and after the final stages of its death, and examines some of the possible reasons for, and impact of, this kind of work. © 2004, by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG. All rights reserved.
This article examines the case of Kali’na, a minority Indigenous language of French Guiana, from the point of view of descriptive categories available in the literature (namely dominated language, minoritized language, endangered language). These terms are discussed, favouring more dynamic categories which focus on processes (minoritization/deminoritization). The article uses both micro- and macrosociolinguistic levels of analysis. At the macro level, indicators are proposed to gauge the minorization of Kali’na as it occurs on the scale of Guiana as a whole, by observing attitudes towards Kali’na language and culture, particularly as expressed in the media and in epilinguistic comments made by speakers. At the local level, we explore the effects of the recognition by the State of a Kali’na township and their influence on language minoritization in the village and more generally at the level of the linguistic community. We also attempt to determine to what extent, as far as interactions are concerned, alternations and code switching between Kali’na and French might constitute indicators of the process of minoritization or deminoritization or of language death currently underway.
An examination of the language-related educational policies of South Asia, and particularly of India, finds that language policies among colonial administrators and the native elite for over a century has left a deep imprint on contemporary language ideologies of different nations. The discussion begins with a look at the Indian dual education system before the consolidation of British rule on the subcontinent at the beginning of the nineteenth century, with instruction given in Sanskrit and Arabic-Persian. The rival British educational system later eclipsed the traditional systems, and as it evolved, it effectively ignored all mediums of instruction except English. The struggle for Indian independence brought with it substantial conflict over the British education system, and the issue of language of instruction became politicized. Patterns of native language use and language policy in India and other South Asian areas are described, and the problems facing many multilingual developing nations as a result of current language usage and strategies are discussed briefly. Contains 47 references. (MSE)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 20-22) Supported in part by the National Institute of Education under contract no. US-NIE-C-400-76-0116
This article is about the language of politics and religion in the Middle East. It argues that the "national" struggle of the Ottomans after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I was not aimed at the establishment of a Turkish state, as later Turkish historiography has claimed. A careful analysis of the terminology employed by the leadership of the "national" movement in its official documents during the early phase (1918-1920) shows that instead it based itself on a corporate identity that was primarily religious: that of the Ottoman Muslims. The adoption of secular Turkish nationalism as corporate political identity underlying the state was a later development, which took place after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. The vocabulary then changed accordingly, and even where the vocabulary stayed the same, the meaning changed, as in the case of the central term millî 'national'.
In Switzerland, Francoprovençal is still spoken in parts of the cantons of Fribourg and Valais, but has (almost) disappeared from other cantons. The archives of the Journal de Genève (JdG) illustrate the evolution of glottonyms and linguistic representations, ranging from acceptance of the extinction of patois to conservation efforts, and, more recently, to hopes of revitalization. This analysis is based on two corpora organized around 1909, composed of texts containing respectively at least one occurrence of the keywords “patois” (1826–1909) and “franco-provençal” (1909–1998). These corpora also reflect identity construction based on language at a regional, national or transnational level. In the 19th century, the imagined language community applied to “little fatherlands” (cantons), to Romandie or to a cross-border space limited to Geneva and Savoy. In the 20th century, the appearance of the word “Franco-Provençal” led some people to extend the symbolic space to the whole FP area, especially to the Aosta Valley. Even though the “FP cause” remains secondary in the JdG and the discourse on “Harpetan” seems anecdotal, we observe some signs of “proto-national” construction.
In order to better understand the features and purposes of translation in multilingual states, this study looks at nineteenth-century translation policies in Belgium, a young state (founded in 1830) with liberal ambitions and a multilingual population. More specifically, it deals with the parliamentary debates on the translation into Flemish of the Bulletin des Arrêtés, Bulletin Officiel and Moniteur belge , the consecutive official journals for the publication of new legislation. Until now, language history and language policy researchers have paid too little attention to the key role played by translation and the many aspects of translation policies to consider (such as spelling, timing, translators … ), matters that go to the heart of identity issues in politics and that, consequently, aroused great emotion in some Members of Parliament (MPs).
This short paper discusses language and globalization in the context of COVID-19. The pandemic has important impacts on people across the globe, and in particular the absence of face-to-face interaction results in new forms of communication and may lead to new ways of language change. This paper revisits sociolinguistics and globalization, and discusses challenges brought about by COVID-19 and its containment measures. The pandemic generates particularly discourses, especially from those who are affected the most. This paper includes a vignette of such discourses to show that mobility and inequality remain key issues in the current stage of globalization.
Malgré la résistance, voire les protestations, de la population négro-africaine ou sub-saharienne (Halpulaaren, Soninké et Wolofs), la place de l’arabe ne cesse de gagner du terrain en Mauritanie. Face au français qui a perdu son statut de langue officielle en 1991, c’est l’arabe standard qui semble le grand gagnant. Cependant le dialecte arabe ḥassāniyya se maintient comme langue maternelle de l’ensemble de la communauté maure (les Bīđ̣ân ) et son usage tend même à s’étendre dans la rue comme langue de communication. Depuis les années 1970, des formes mixtes sont apparues, notamment dans les productions à visée politique, mais dans l’ensemble, les sphères d’emploi des formes non mixtes sont restées bien différenciées, aussi bien à l’oral qu’à l’écrit. L’usage des nouvelles technologies n’a pas apporté de bouleversement radical: le choix du dialecte ou de l’arabe littéraire continue à dépendre à la fois du locuteur, du thème et du point de vue énonciatif. Cependant, alors que ce choix ne concernait, auparavant, que les productions orales, il s’est étendu dorénavant à l’écrit, certains Mauritaniens n’hésitant plus à communiquer en ḥassāniyya par écrit. C’est notamment cette évolution que je me propose de montrer à travers l’étude de messages reçus par WhatsApp. Le corpus constitué au cours de l’année 2019–2020 comprend des enregistrements audio, des vidéos et des textes écrits. Ceux-ci nous ont été réexpédiés par des Mauritaniens bien informés qui les avaient sélectionnés pour leur intérêt particulier (politique, social ou esthétique). Parmi eux, une dizaine de messages concerne la crise du Covid-19 qui a donné lieu à des prises de position relativement tranchées.
India’s “official language controversy” spanned over two decades from 1946 to 1967, during which the proposal to replace English with Hindi met with resistance from various quarters. However, the inter-regional ethno-linguistic politics of India came together with the developmental vision for an industrialized postcolonial democracy to ensure its validation and continuance in as a co-official language of the republic. My analysis identifies a widespread perception, among supporters as well as detractors of English in India at the time, that the “international”/“foreign” credentials of the language made it an instrument of change across various regional, religious, caste, class, and ethnic communities. The language came to be reframed during this period due to the coming together of India’s colonial past and its distinct regional and community histories with the views of leading public figures. Perhaps most surprising, however, is the complex part played by a “hybrid” minority constituency in public debate: the mixed race Anglo-Indian community, in dissociating from the former “home” country of England re-defined itself and its relationship with the new republic, and ultimately served as a catalyst in reframing the language as not merely international or colonial, but as Indian.
This article contributes to the strand of research within the New Literacy Studies that has investigated the ways in which adult literacy campaigns are bound up with social and political movements. The focus is on the adult literacy campaign initiated in Timor-Leste in 1974, as the process of decolonisation from Portugal got underway. This campaign was based on a Freirean approach to adult literacy and was initiated by Timorese students returning from Lisbon. The article draws on archival research and oral history interviews with people who volunteered to serve as adult literacy tutors at the time. The analysis presented in the main body of the article provides insights into the nature of the training, and into the tutors’ own understandings of the purpose of the campaign and of adult literacy pedagogy. It also draws attention to the difficult conditions in which this short-lived campaign was conducted in 1974 and 1975. The final section of the article details the worsening nature of the conditions encountered after the Indonesian invasion of December 1975 and concludes that, despite the constraints imposed by these conditions, this campaign has had an enduring symbolic legacy in the field of adult literacy education in Timor-Leste.
By providing evidence that sign language is an autonomous language, research has contributed to various changes both within and beyond the signing communities. The aim of this article is to show an example of how sign language change is driven not only by language internal factors but also by changes in language perception, as well as in the changing groups of users and the contexts of use. Drawing from data collected at a sign language research centre in Italy on Italian Sign Language during a time span of over thirty years, the present study will show how language research was a major impetus for a new linguistic awareness and changes in language attitude has influenced new linguistic practices and has forced Italian signers to think about rules governing the use of their language.
The article applies political discourse analysis to presidential speeches in four countries. A qualitative and quantitative content analysis of 71 annual addresses delivered by the political leaders of the United States, Canada, Russia and Kazakhstan over the 20-year period since the fall of the Soviet Union is used to test the hypothesis of convergence between their institutional systems. The study shows that there are some tendencies toward negative convergence. Political leaders tend to place similar relative emphasis on such issues as power, trust, liberalism and the market, among others. Two elements of the context, namely the events of September 11, 2001 and the October 2008 financial crisis, served to strengthen the negative convergence.
The relationship between nations (or states), languages and social cohesion have been studied over time. Contexts like Africa and India challenge the conceived Western notion of “one-nation-one-language”. Insights about multilingualism and social cohesion from complex sociolinguistic contexts like South Africa could provide a deeper understanding helpful for promoting social cohesion in emerging “super-diverse” situations across the globe. This article reports on selected data from a longitudinal language repertoire survey conducted over three periods (1998, 2010 and 2015) in the Vaal Triangle region in South Africa. It discusses the views of multilingual urban students (N=1900+) about the relationship between multilingualism and social cohesion. The main findings are that the multilingual African home language participants believe that being multilingual is related to social cohesion, while this is not a prominent finding for Afrikaans home language users (who are mainly bilingual). The data from the South African context indicate the importance of multilingual repertoires as instruments that support the fostering of social cohesion in complex settings. Multilingual repertoires facilitate communication that enhances the building of better relationships and a deeper understanding between people in diverse settings. The implications of the findings for emerging “super-diverse” global societies are discussed.
The rise of Finnish in the 19th century is an example of a concluded and successful language emancipation process. The important factors in raising the status of Finnish were language ideology, strong motivation, and the introduction of the use of Finnish into all domains. On an individual level, the establishment of Finnish language schools was more important than the choice of home language. An important feature of the language situation in Finland at the end of the 19th century was that industrialized and modernized Finnish society was developed through both Finnish and Swedish simultaneously. In contrast, the situation of many minorities today is much more problematic. They find themselves in a situation which could be described in terms of a “sociolinguistic time lag” as their language emancipation lags far behind in what has been rapid modernization. In this situation, the introduction of minority languages into the most important contemporary domains of activity is, in many ways, a very demanding task. Consequently, whilst much can be learned from 19th century Finnish language emancipation by contemporary emancipators, today's emancipatory language movements are in an essentially different situation and face new and tough challenges.
Top-cited authors
Rodrigue Landry
  • Université de Moncton
Réal Allard
  • Université de Moncton
Richard Y. Bourhis
  • Université du Québec à Montréal
Anna Mauranen
  • University of Helsinki
Howard NOTE:  SCOtton is not the co-author Giles
  • University of California, Santa Barbara