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RE: csing/mixing

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  • luciaq
    Maria Eugenia, I have often seen this happen among bilinguals in Portuguese and a foreign language (English, French...), and in small groups, specially in
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 6, 2004
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      Maria Eugenia,
      I have often seen this happen among bilinguals in Portuguese and
      a foreign language (English, French...), and in small groups,
      specially in families and friends that have shared a period of
      time in a foreign country and are now living in Brazil
      (professors, diplomats, etc). I was not paying special attention
      to the alternation /mixing of language or ways of speaking, and
      don't remember whether they involved only idiomatic phrases.
      Probably not. At the time, I didn't feel that there was any
      problem in understanding one another, but they weren't taped. I
      believe they are "in the nature of " conversational or
      metaphorical switching, as defined by Gumperz/Ervin-Tripp in her
      last message.

      There were no monolinguals present in these cases, but if there
      were I believe they wouldn't comment or complain, mostly
      because in our culture this is just not done. It would be
      considered very rude and we tend to avoid confrontation of any
      kind. Ours is a very indirect culture.

      There may be code switching/mixing (in the traditional sense)
      among Brazilians of different cultures/languages. We have 200+
      minority languages, but their distribution is something like
      islands in a very large Portuguese territory. I'm no expert in
      these matters, but I believe these languages are just ignored by
      the huge Portuguese speaking majority. And this certainly
      represent the general attitude toward these populations, we tend
      to ignore them.

      So, your idea that attitudes about code switching can be "a
      measurement or indicator of the type of
      sociopolitical/socioeconomic/power relationsip between two
      groups" is certainly possible. It's probably a good measure of
      social relations.
      Um abra├žo,
      Lucia

      -----
      ""I was thinking more about your example of an idiomatic
      phrase translated from the English to Portuguese.
      What was the response of the listeners? Did anyone
      attempt to correct the person who made the transfer?
      Or did everyone accept his utterance? Did anyone
      confirm their understanding of his/her utterance by
      reinterpreting, or perhaps, using the idiomatic
      Portuguese expression that would be commonly accepted
      (i.e. "correct Portuguese") by the listeners?

      My observations are that in an environment where two
      languages or linguistic codes exist, if the
      relationships between the two linguistic groups are
      amicable, then the acceptance of such utterances are
      more likely to occur. Where there is antagonism, or a
      "cold war" between the groups, then correction will
      most likely take place, especially of the younger
      crowd by the older more traditional and more
      monolingual members of the group. What do you think?


      I'm wondering if one could take a codeswitch or
      code-mix, code alternating utterance as a measurement
      or indicator of the type of
      sociopolitical/socioeconomic/power relationsip between
      two groups, given, of course,
      that all speakers are about the same level of
      bilingualism/biculturalism.

      One of my subjects used a spatial metaphor in English,
      "to give a 180 degree turn" where native speakers of
      Spanish would have used a temporal one: "to change
      overnight". The speaker and I grew up together, he is
      a Spanish teacher at a local high school, and we both
      speak Spanish and English well. Yet, he code-mixed
      and left the expression incomplete! He assumed I
      would understand, and I did, given the fact that we
      both grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the
      same school with the same teachers. I wonder if he
      would have done the same thing with an "outsider", a
      bilingual person not of our neighborhood. He was
      following the unspoken rule we have, to speak Spanish
      among ourselves as much as possible, unless someone in
      the group needs to have English spoken. He was born in
      Mexico, I was not. His parents and mine speak only
      Spanish at home and English when necessary. When he
      produced this metaphorical switch, we were alone in
      his classroom, recording the conversation which I was
      to use as data and he was aware of the purpose of the
      conversation.

      I'm interested to know the circumstances of your
      subjects.
    • marian sloboda
      Hello, ... In former Czechoslovakia and now in Czechia and Slovakia there are many Czech-Slovak bilinguals who switch or mix these two languages (althouth the
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 8, 2004
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        Hello,

        > My observations are that in an environment where two
        > languages or linguistic codes exist, if the
        > relationships between the two linguistic groups are
        > amicable, then the acceptance of such utterances are
        > more likely to occur. Where there is antagonism, or a
        > "cold war" between the groups, then correction will
        > most likely take place, especially of the younger
        > crowd by the older more traditional and more
        > monolingual members of the group. What do you think?

        In former Czechoslovakia and now in Czechia and Slovakia there are
        many Czech-Slovak bilinguals who switch or mix these two languages
        (althouth the majority of the countries' population is monolingual).
        I think that Czech-Slovak relations are very amicable, but despite
        this the common term "Czechoslovak", which refers to the mixed
        speech, is used mostly in pejorative sense (as one can find out
        through daily experience, admittedly narrow and individual, and
        Google searches). The same holds for Belarusians and Russians. The
        mix of Belarusian and Russian in Belarus is wide-spread, almost
        everyone speaks it there, but its name is in itself pejorative -
        "trasyanka" - originally a name for a mix of hay and straw that was
        used to feed cattle when there was not enough of hay. During the
        USSR, the relationship between Belarusians and Russians was amicable,
        still "trasyanka" is something that is generally looked down upon.
        And on the other hand, I heard a Scotish saying in Scotish English
        (still "English" in her own cognition) "We hate the English".

        There are certainly other factors that form attitudes towards mixing
        (or also switching) languages. Mixing for example doesn't have to
        signal predominantly belonging to the respective social groups (here
        e.g. to the Czech, or Slovak nations), but for example, rather low
        educational level of the speaker, background, etc. That is, mixing
        two languages doesn't have to be just putting two languages together
        that would imply putting together interpretations of use of one of
        them and interpretations of use of the other, but mixing can be a
        phenomenon on its own, which can be interpreted in its own way. We
        would need some statistical evidence for what you have suggested,
        although it seems very acceptable.

        Best regards,

        Marian Sloboda
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