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Re: Intergenerational/Dialectical Switching

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  • Celso Alvarez Caccamo
    I think Robert Williams poses an interesting question which ... I think two (unsolved) issues intersect here: (1) the relationships between (the notions of)
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 2, 2000
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      I think Robert Williams poses an interesting question which
      was somewhat addressed in the list some time ago:

      > To conclude, I'd simply ask, is anyone truly "monolingual"
      > when one factors in all of the various sociocultural 'codes'
      > available to any language user who has progressed beyond his
      > or her "home language?"

      I think two (unsolved) issues intersect here: (1) the
      relationships between (the notions of) 'code', 'grammar'
      and 'language varieties'; and (2) language ideologies which
      turn speech into 'languages' -- connected to attitudes about
      varieties, as Hal Schiffman points out.

      I don't think code-switching research has produced enough
      understanding of these questions yet. I personally
      would like to put these things together.

      To return to the multiple interpretation examples
      (Chinese-English, or Berliner-Swabian), let's imagine a
      different scenario: in a switchboard, a telephone operator,
      B, relays information to two telephone conversationalist,
      A and C, who use the same language but can't hear each
      other. That is,

      A ---> B ---> C, and then
      A <--- B <--- C

      The main issue here is the discourse task involved:
      systematically, reported speech, RS. I believe the main
      constraint B has is that one, how to play with others'
      voices. Possibly, RS as such places constraints on *how*
      language is used, and, only anecdotally, on *what* language
      to use. I would call the communicative principles governing
      RS a 'code': an activity code. Thus, if and when B introduces
      his/her own words in the conversation, that's when s/he
      code-switches between an RS code and some other code, regardless
      of the language used. I understand grammar, lexis, intonation,
      kinesics, and other devices as signalling systems (vehicles)
      for some contents which are not primarily linguistic, but
      somewhat previous to and relatively independent from those
      signalling systems

      So, I personally don't see much magic in the fact that B
      resorts to language X or Z in order to report another
      person's speech. I find more magic in how the interpreter
      activates different voices: "debrayage", displacement,
      impersonation.

      Best,
      -celso
      --
      Celso Alvarez Cáccamo Tel. +34 981 167000 ext. 1888
      LinguĂ­stica Geral, Faculdade de Filologia FAX +34 981 167151
      Universidade da Corunha lxalvarz@...
      15071 A Corunha, Galiza (Espanha) http://www.udc.es/dep/lx/cac/
    • Jussi Karlgren
      ... how many people are raised in societies which in _some_ sense of the word _could_ be called monolingual? i have the sense they are fewer than one might
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 9, 2000
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        >I think Robert Williams poses an interesting question which
        >was somewhat addressed in the list some time ago:
        >
        >> To conclude, I'd simply ask, is anyone truly "monolingual"
        >> when one factors in all of the various sociocultural 'codes'
        >> available to any language user who has progressed beyond his
        >> or her "home language?"

        how many people are raised in societies which in _some_ sense
        of the word _could_ be called monolingual? i have the sense they
        are fewer than one might expect - and that the majority of linguists
        are recruited among them. how many live in relatively homogenous
        nation-states?

        J

        --
        Dr. Jussi Karlgren www.sics.se/~jussi jussi@...
        Language and Interaction Laboratory, SICS, Stockholm
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