Chapter 4, Languages in Contact: Online material For Students

Chapter 4, Languages in Contact: Online material
For Students
Chapter 4 explores what happens when languages – or more aptly, speakers of languages – come into contact.
There are many different paths to multilingualism, and many different ways of using multiple languages. One
pattern of language use we explore is diglossia, in which the two languages differ in terms of their status in
society; one is considered more prestigious and is used in more formal contexts, the other is reserved for more
casual events and interactions. In many multilingual societies, however, code choice is not so clear, and there is
multilingual discourse. Often, the attitudes people have about multilingualism, or about particular languages,
influence how the languages are used. We look at three main theoretical approaches to the study of multilingual
discourse – Communication Accommodation Theory, the Markedness Model, and the study of language choice
as part of the social construction of identity.
2.1. Compare and contrast the following terms/concepts:
language shift/language maintenance
diglossia/multilingual discourse
monoglossic ideology/pluralist ideology
situational code-switching/metaphorical code-switching
Communication Accommodation Theory/Markedness Model
Markedness Model/construction of social identity through language choice
2.2. Review questions
2.2.1. What are some of the social circumstances that lead to multilingual communities?
2.2.2. How can attitudes and ideologies about specific languages and multilingualism influence how people
use the languages in their repertoires?
2.2.3. What are the main features of a diglossic language situation?
2.2.4. When are speakers likely to converge to or diverge from the language choices made by their
2.2.5. What is an unmarked choice, and why do speakers made marked choices?
2.2.6. How can language choice contribute to the construction of social identities?
Terms to know from this chapter
language shift
language maintenance
ethnolinguistic vitality
multilingual, multilingualism
contact languages
multilingual discourse
linguistic landscapes
matched guise
monoglossic ideology
pluralist ideology
situational code-switching
metaphorical code-switching
audience design
unmarked choice
social construction of identity
4.1. Organizations related to multilingualism.
UNESCO provides information and links to scholars and activists from a variety of disciplines who are
interested in language documentation and preservation.
The International Association of Multilingualism provides bibliographical references, information about
conferences, and ongoing projects relevant to students and scholars of multilingualism around the world.
4.2. Journals: These are the leading journals in the study of multilingualism from sociolinguistic perspectives.
International Journal of Multilingualism
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Critical Multilingual Studies
International Journal of Bilingualism
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
The following two links (mentioned in exercise 4.1) address the issue of whether bilingualism is a problem or
advantage in terms of cognitive development, citing changes in attitude about this over time.,
See audio file for exercise 4.2