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Written CS analysis - long

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  • Leonie Kotze
    Hi Walid I’ve seen an advertisement for a book called “Codeswitching on the Web: English and Jamaican Creole in e-mail communication”. The author is
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2011
      Hi Walid

      I’ve seen an advertisement for a book called “Codeswitching on the Web:
      English and Jamaican Creole in e-mail communication”. The author is Lars
      Hinrichs. This books deals with written codeswitching and I believe is one
      of the few books available on written CS as little work has been done re
      written CS. I have not read the book myself (still trying to get hold of
      it) but maybe this book offers some insight into possible methodologies for
      analysing written CS. I am currently working on written CS myself and I am
      using the insights and theories as offered by some post structurturalist. I
      am going to be bold – I am posting my Aim and Rationale as well as my
      Literature Review of my Master’s proposal here. I include the bibliography
      as well. I hope this helps.

      Leoni Kotze


      The proposed study is a sociolinguistic investigation which seeks to tease
      out the social meaning of Afrikaans within a post-Apartheid South Africa.
      More specifically, the study will examine the connotations of Afrikaans in
      written English-Afrikaans code-switching in the Sunday Times during the
      period January to June 2009.

      This study is conducted within the sociolinguist view that certain
      associations come into existence between linguistic forms and other social
      categories in societies. These associations, called ‘indexical ties’ exist,
      for instance, between linguistic forms such as genres, styles or variety of
      language, and social phenomena such as ethnicity, gender, sexuality,
      aesthetics and morality (Milani & Johnson, 2010, pp. 2,3). In this way,
      linguistic forms become ‘indexical’ of social phenomena. The indexicality
      ascribed in society to linguistic forms plays an important role in the
      relevant value afforded to particular language phenomena because the “…
      production, reproduction and/or contestation of these indexical ties …” are
      the very instruments through which “…language phenomena [become] invested
      with meanings and values” (Milani & Johnson, 2010, p. 3). In South Africa,
      for instance, an indexical tie exists between Afrikaans and race so that
      being a mother-tongue Afrikaans speaker is equated with being white
      (Dlamini, 2009, p. 144, 150; Botha, 2002) even though large groups of
      non-whites are Afrikaans mother-tongue speakers (Dlamini, 2009, p. 137).This
      example illustrates that indexical ties are not necessarily a reflection of
      social reality, but that they are one of the social mechanisms through which
      social meaning, language ideologies and social identities are constructed
      and maintained.

      Within the sociolinguistic view set out above, this study aims to determine
      the social meaning of Afrikaans in a post-apartheid South Africa. For this
      purpose, the different indexical values of Afrikaans will be determined by
      examining a corpus of documents in which written English-Afrikaans
      codeswitching occurs. Irvine and Gal’s (2000) notions of iconization,
      fractal recursivity and erasure will be employed in order to ascertain
      whether Afrikaans is associated with (or tied to) ‘backwardness’,
      ‘whiteness’ and ‘rurality’, for example, or conversely, is used in a more
      creative way in order to go beyond racial boundaries and ethnic
      associations. The corpus of documents which will be used for this study are
      electronic versions of all South African articles which appeared in the
      South African English newspaper, the Sunday Times during the period January
      2009 to June 2009. For the purpose of this study, codeswitching
      (henceforth CS), will be regarded as any occurrence of Afrikaans morphemes
      and/or lexemes within the English discourse of the Sunday Times. The term
      ‘English-Afrikaans CS’ will be used to indicate that Afrikaans lexemes and
      phrases occur within a communicative event which is conducted mainly in

      The main reason for undertaking this study is the observation that the
      continued use of Afrikaans within an English newspaper, sixteen years after
      the first South African democratic elections, might sound somewhat unusual,
      particularly when taking into account that Afrikaans was the main vehicle
      through which Afrikaner Nationalism and Apartheid were established and
      maintained (Dlamini, 2009, p. 136). Although Afrikaner Nationalism and
      Apartheid as a state ideology fell away after the 1994 South African
      democratic elections, Afrikaans is generally perceived as a marker of
      Apartheid and oppression. This argument can be exemplified by Jacob Zuma’s
      statement in his speech of 2 April 2009 that “…Afrikaners withdrew [from the
      socio-political arena] because the blame for apartheid "was being placed
      squarely on the Afrikaners …” (Politicsweb, 2009, p. 1). However, the fact
      that Afrikaans is still a marker of Apartheid is not the only reason why the
      use of Afrikaans within South Africa’s English discourse is unexpected. It
      is also the sociohistorical as well as the current sociopolitical situation
      between English and Afrikaans which makes it unusual since English has
      always carried more prestige than Afrikaans and has always been regarded as
      the ‘language of business’ in South Africa (Ponelis, 1998, pp. 27, 45).
      Currently English is increasingly favoured as the language of business and
      education and “very few English-speakers believe that their language rights
      are compromised …” (Heugh, 2003, p. 28). On the other hand, many Afrikaans
      speaking citizens fear that Afrikaans will ‘die’ and for some prominent
      citizens of South Africa, such as the well known poet Breyten Breytenbach,
      the death of Afrikaans is a reality. Breyten Breytenbach is of the opinion
      that “ … dit [die dood van Afrikaans] is aan die gebeur” (it [the death of
      Afrikaans] is happening) (Fourie, 2010, p. 1). Within such a sociopolitical
      setting one would have expected to see a diminished use of Afrikaans,
      certainly within the spoken and/or written English discourse of South
      Africa, yet it occurs within the spoken and written discourses of South
      Africa, not only as the medium of communication within the Afrikaans
      community, but also as part of the English discourse in South Africa.
      Afrikaans words and phrases are used in both formal and informal
      communicative events, in both private social interactions as well as in
      public discourse such as billboards, radio, TV, brochures and newspapers.
      This rather unexpected continued occurrence of English-Afrikaans CS warrants

      Since the aim of this study is to determine the social meaning of Afrikaans
      as portrayed in the Sunday Times, this study will be conducted within a
      poststructuralist framework. Such an approach has been chosen because,
      following Pavlenko & Blackledge, it takes the larger socioeconomic,
      sociohistoric, and sociopolitical processes into consideration allowing the
      researcher to work “ … in more nuanced and context-sensitive ways [than
      before]” (2004, p. 3).


      Linguists’ concern with ‘social identity’ has “… only recently taken on a
      central role in sociolinguistic thinking” (Auer, 2005, p. 403). Until about
      fifteen years ago (Milani, 2007, p. 99) language, social identity and CS
      were examined mainly from a structuralist’s perspective which viewed
      language, identity and meaning as static entities. Within this view,
      language was seen as simply reflecting society and/or identity. This
      approach focused on the “…we-they code of rights and identities framework
      […] where a notion of intentionality is central to accounting for speaker
      meanings” (Stroud, 2004, p. 148). Working with this ‘simplified view’ of
      language, social structures, meaning and identity, linguists such as
      Myers-Scotton (1993) claimed that their proposed CS models and/or frameworks
      would account for all CS in any multilingual social setting (Myers-Scotton,
      1993, pp. 3, 113). But recent poststructuralist studies such as those of
      Stroud (2004), Pavlenko & Blackledge (2004), Auer (2003), and Irvine & Gal
      (2000) to name but a few, reveal that meaning as well as identity, whether
      individual or social, is dynamic in nature and is constantly being
      constructed within different private and public communicative events. In
      fact, a critical body of research which came about during the ‘discursive
      turn’ of the past fifteen years within the academic field of language and
      society (Milani, 2007; Auer, 2003), seeks to investigate and reveal that,
      contrary to prior views, languages does not simply reflect society and/or
      identity, but play a crucial role in constructing social identities.

      CS, from a stucturalist point of view, was not regarded as a ‘linguistic
      resource’ which communicators could use to express views, for instance, but
      rather as a unique phenomenon (Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004, p. 12). Pavlenko
      & Blackledge (2004, p. 12) however, drawing on the work of Heller (1992,
      1995), point out that CS “… needs to be examined not as a unique phenomenon
      but as a part of a range of linguistic practices which people employ to
      achieve their goals and to challenge symbolic domination” (emphasis my own).
      As this statement equates ‘CS’ with ‘linguistic resource’ it should be noted
      that the poststructuralists’ views of ‘language’ discussed below are taken
      to be equally valid for CS.

      Pavlenko and Blackledge (2004) point out that the relation between language
      and identity is a complex one because language could be used in society as a
      marker of national identity, as a form of symbolic capital or as a means of
      social control. At times, these roles are interconnected (Pavlenko &
      Blackledge, 2004, p. 2). Following the work of Pierre Bordieu (1977, 1982,
      1991) Pavlenko & Blackledge (2004) compare the sociolinguistic sphere within
      communities with a ‘linguistic market’, one in which speech participants can
      convert their symbolic capital into economic and social capital. The
      language varieties which are used for ‘symbolic trading’ are not equal in
      value; their respective values are derived “… from [their] legitimation by
      the dominant group and the dominant institutions, in particular schools and
      the media” (Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004, p. 10). The cultural and linguistic
      diversity within the societal market opens up a range of identity options
      while the inequality gives rise to negotiations, both public and private …”
      (Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004, p. 3). Pavlenko & Blackledge’s (2004) views
      of language and identity can be illustrated by Dlamini’s (2009) chapter
      entitled “Native Nostalgia” in which he relates how Afrikaans, the language
      of the oppressor and of power (Dlamini, 2009, pp. 135, 136) served as the
      means through which he (and other black students) gained education (Dlamini,
      2009, p. 136). Afrikaans, in this sense, could be seen as ‘symbolic capital’
      which could be traded for advancement in education and obtaining employment.

      Furthermore, the cultural and linguistic diversity of South Africa opened up
      the possibility for many black citizens who spoke Afrikaans to claim the
      identities of “clevers”, “old timers”, “hipness”, “jazz” and “urban blacks”
      amongst themselves through the use of Afrikaans (Dlamini, 2009, pp. 137,
      138). Even a disdain for Afrikaans and a refusal to admitting one’s ability
      to speak the language served as an identity marker of a “wannabe
      revolutionary” amongst black students during the Apartheid era (Dlamini,
      2009, p. 137). Dlamini’s (2009) account of his and other Blacks’ experience
      with Afrikaans also illustrates the negotiations (and struggles) which can
      arise from cultural and linguistic inequality since Afrikaans as the medium
      of instruction was never accepted by black South African citizens and the
      public revolt against this situation in 1976 is a well-known revolutionary
      event in the sociopolitical history of South Africa.

      Pavlenko & Blackledge (2004) distinguishes three different types of
      identities, namely imposed, assumed and negotiable identities. Imposed
      identities are those for which the negotiations are denied or prohibited by
      some form of authority. The classification of all Asian and Indian citizens
      of South Africa in 1950 according to the Population Registration Act, Act
      30 of 1950, as ‘Coloured’ (Kommisie van Ondersoek, 1976, p. 3) is an
      example of an imposed identity. Assumed identities are accepted and
      therefore not negotiated while negotiable identities are the ones that
      become the object of contestation and struggle. Because identity options
      and negotiations can change over time, Pavlenko and Blackledge (2004, p. 22)
      suggest that an investigation into the negotiation of identities should be
      approached from a sociohistorical perspective.

      To show the ways in which identities are produced and negotiated, Pavlenko &
      Blackledge (2004) propose a framework which is based on Davies & Harré’s
      (1990) positioning theory. Positioning, according to Davies and Harré
      (1990, p. 48) is the “discursive process whereby selves are located in
      conversations as observably and subjectively coherent participants in
      jointly produced story lines”. Two types of positioning are defined i.e.
      interactive positioning, which occurs when one person positions the other by
      his/her utterance, and reflexive positioning, which occurs when one
      positions oneself The interactive positioning of communicative ‘receivers’
      by speech producers is not determined by the content of the speaker’s
      utterance nor the intention of the speaker, but by the “… extent that it
      [the utterance] is taken up as such by all participants” (Davies & Harré,
      1990, p. 45). This means that speech participants may reject or contest the
      position afforded to them by others (or themselves) and in doing so,
      negotiate for an acceptable identity position.

      Stroud (2004) aptly shows how speech participants reject and contest
      conventional linguistic ideologies and identities in his analysis of
      Portuguese-Ronga CS in an interaction in a market in Mozambique. He
      illustrates how one of the participants constructs herself as an
      authoritative speaker by speaking Portuguese (the official language).
      Nonetheless, this speaker and her fellow speech participants use Portuguese
      in such a way that they reconstitute it as a language through which “… to
      carry meanings and construct identities in direct opposition to those
      conventionally associated with the language of the elites” (Stroud, 2004, p.
      154)(emphasis my own). Stroud points out that the values afforded to
      Portuguese and Ronga in his CS data are only slightly related to their
      values “on official markets” (Stroud, 2004, p. 149). This illustrates that
      the values of Portuguese and Ronga, in this instance, obtain their values
      from the manner in which they are appropriated as well as the sociopolitical
      context in which they are used.

      Stroud (2004) approaches his CS study from Judith Butler’s theory of
      performativity (Stroud, 2004, p. 149). According to this theory, language
      and identities “… gain [their] conventional meanings through processes or
      repetition, constrained within a certain space of regulated semiotic
      options” (Stroud, 2004, p. 149). The notion of repetition (also referred to
      as “citationality/iterability” (Stroud, 2004, p. 149)) is central to the
      theory of performativity because reinterpretation and resignification
      becomes possible when an utterance is repeated. (Stroud, 2004, p. 150) puts
      it in the following way:

      The temporal distance between an utterance and its repetition, and the fact
      that an utterance is beyond the control of its speaker means that it is
      inherently subject to reinterpretation and resignification by other in new
      contexts …:

      Stroud (2004, p. 149) argues that the women’s speech in his data can be
      interpreted “as acts of subversive resignification”. This finding was
      obtained by examining his Portuguese-Ronga CS data in terms of Harvey’s
      (1998, 2000) four semiotic strategies, parody, paradox, ludicrism and
      inversion. In his study, (Stroud, 2004) shows, for instance, how
      Portuguese is parodied by the Mozambiquan women when they index and
      exaggerate Portuguese as the language of power while they simultaneously
      create a paradox by reappropriating Portuguese by infusing it with meaning
      that is in opposition to the conventional meaning associated with Portuguese
      (Stroud, 2004, pp. 152-155).

      The way in which linguistic forms happen to be associated with social
      phenomena such as Portuguese being associated with power and elitism in the
      current Mozambiquan society, forms the focus of research done in Africa and
      Europe by Irvine & Gal (2000). These two linguists explored ideologies of
      linguistic differentiation and are of the opinion that language ideologies
      come into existence when speech participants start regarding the indexical
      ties as being the cause or the meaning of linguistic differences. This means
      that the socially constructed link between a linguistic form and a social
      phenomena becomes ‘naturalized’ to the extent that members of society regard
      the association between Afrikaans and racism, for example, as an inherent
      quality of its Afrikaans speakers which in turn is seen as the reason why
      Afrikaans differs from other languages and why Afrikaans speakers are
      different in character from speakers of other languages. According to
      Irvine & Gal (2000, p. 37) “ … people conceive of links between linguistic
      forms and social phenomena” in terms of three semiotic processes, namely
      iconization, fractal recursivity and erasure.

      Iconization is the process in which the sign relationship between a
      linguistic feature and a social phenomena is transformed, so that it appears
      as if the linguistic feature is an iconic representation of the inherent
      nature of a social group or individual (Irvine & Gal, 2000, p. 37). Fractal
      recursivity is the “… projection of an opposition, salient at some level of
      relationship, onto some other level”, while erasure is the process in which
      “…some persons or activities (or sociolinguistic phenomena) [are rendered]
      invisible” (Irvine & Gal, 2000, p. 38). These three semiotic processes can
      best be illustrated by once again considering the indexical tie between
      Afrikaans and race where Afrikaans is portrayed in the South African context
      as an icon of the physical appearance of members of society, i.e. ‘white’.
      This iconic relationship between Afrikaans and race (white) creates various
      oppositions between societal groups of which the opposition between white
      Afrikaans speakers and black Afrikaans speakers is one. During the Apartheid
      era, fractal recursivity occurred when the opposition created between white
      and black Afrikaans speakers were transformed onto other domains, such as
      ‘religion’ so that being a white Afrikaans speaker meant being a follower of
      the Dutch Reformed faith while black Afrikaans speakers were not generally
      considered Christians, let alone followers of the Dutch Reformed church
      (ref). The erasure of black Afrikaans speakers as well as Christian Dutch
      Reformed black Afrikaans speakers in this context should be evident.


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