Written CS analysis - long
- Hi Walid
Ive 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 Masters proposal here. I include the bibliography
as well. I hope this helps.
1 AIM AND RATIONALE
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
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 Gals (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 Zumas
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 Africas 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).
2 LITERATURE REVIEW
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 structuralists 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 & Blackledges (2004) views
of language and identity can be illustrated by Dlaminis (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 ones 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). Dlaminis (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 & Harrés
(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 speakers
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 Butlers 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
Stroud (2004, p. 149) argues that the womens 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 Harveys
(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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