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Re: [code-switching] Code-switching and bilingual mixed languages

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  • Alby
    French Guiana is a department (DOM : Département d Outre Mer). There might be language shift, but still there is language maintenance in Awala-Yalimapo (the
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 2, 2000
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      French Guiana is a department (DOM : Département d'Outre Mer). There might
      be language shift, but still there is language maintenance in Awala-Yalimapo
      (the Kali'na amerindian village where I work), but there is a process of
      language 'losing' in other Kali'na villages of the department. The
      children's linguistic repertoire in Awala is interesting because while they
      keep using Kali'na a lot, they also speak French, and they use bilingual
      talk as a 'peer language'. But children are ashamed of 'mixing'. I heard one
      of them saying : "she speaks badly : she mixes Kali'na and French". And
      adults really disagree when they hear children 'mixing'. I never heard the
      term 'charabia'.

      I would be very interested in having your bibliography and your abstract.

      I went to two conferences and wrote the following papers :
      " An analysis of the bilingual code-switching (French-Kali'na) :
      The linguistic repertoire of a Kali'na native speaker group in French Guiana "
      And
      "Kali'na and French in contact in an Amerindian village school (French Guiana)"
      If you are interested I can send them to you.

      Sophie

      At 09:03 01/11/2000 -0500, vous avez écrit:
      >Sophie,
      >
      >I am just finishing my dissertation on a related subject: language
      >socialization, code-switching, and cultural identity in the Marquesas,
      >French Polynesia. I suspect there's a lot in common for us to discuss.
      >Is French Guiana a separate nation now, a Departement or a
      >semi-autonomous territory (FP is the latter)? Are you looking at
      >language shift, in the sense of 'losing' the Amerindian language? My
      >emphasis is that 'shift' does not necessarily mean 'loss' as the new
      >syncretic code and/or code-switching register can serve the
      >functions of the 'pure' language of signaling and articulating identity
      >if people are not ashamed of it. I am curious to know whether the term
      >'charabia' is used in your field site (or elsewhere in France that you
      >are aware of).
      >
      >If you think it would help you I can download my abstract and my
      >bibliography.
      >
      >Kate Riley
      >Department of Anthropology
      >Graduate Center, CUNY
      >
      >Alby wrote:
      >>
      >> Hi, my name is Sophie Alby.
      >> I am undertaking a PhD in contact linguistics. I describe contact between
      >> Kali'na (Amerindian language) and French in a village called Awala-Yalimapo
      >> (French Guiana). I focus on bilingual talk - and quite a lot on code-mixing
      >> - but I am interested in linking different phenomena that appear in a
      >> languages in contact situation.I have been reading a paper from Donald
      >> Winford "Creoles in the context of Contact Linguistics" (1997), this paper
      >> gives a list of the major outcomes of language contact, and compare these
      >> outcomes.
      >> My interest is especially on what he calls bilingual mixed languages . I
      >> would like to know if anyone would have some references on the relation
      >> between code-switching and other outcomes of contact like SLA, creoles
      >> and/or bilingual mixed languages.
      >>
      >> I would appreciate it if you could help me with that.
      >> Thank you very much.
      >> I am looking forward to hearing from you.
      >> Sophie ALBY
      >> IRD Cayenne
      >> Laboratoire des Sciences sociales
      >> BP165 - Cité Rebard
      >> 97323 Cayenne Cedex
      >> France
      >> Tél. 05 94 25 32 44 / 05 94 25 34 06
      >> Fax 05 94 25 33 98
      >>
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      >
      >
      >
      >
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      >
      >
      Sophie ALBY
      IRD Cayenne
      Laboratoire des Sciences sociales
      BP165 - Cité Rebard
      97323 Cayenne Cedex
      France
      Tél. 05 94 25 32 44 / 05 94 25 34 06
      Fax 05 94 25 33 98
    • kate riley
      Dear Celso (and overhearers), Yes, it s a question I ve pondered, partly in response to identifying the degree to which the previous codes have fused already
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 2, 2000
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        Dear Celso (and overhearers),

        Yes, it's a question I've pondered, partly in response to identifying
        the degree to which the previous 'codes' have fused already v. the
        degree to which elements still actively index ethnolinguistic and
        psychosocial identities. In my analysis of 'code-switching', I have
        proposed a category of dialogic switching (as if we needed one
        more) which fuses metonymic and rhetorical functions by creatively
        indexing both 1st and 2nd order sociolinguistic realities (in
        Silverstein's terms), i.e., switches that challenge conventional
        associations between linguistic forms and wider sociopolitical values as
        well as ideological assumptions about what switching of any kind signals
        within a conversation. I've also used Kit Woolard's concept of
        'bivalency' as well as something I call 'calcified dialogism' (i.e.
        istances of dialogic switching incorporated long ago but which still
        carry some vestigial significance).

        In the Marquesas (as elsewhere), a fascinating facet of all this is the
        particular relationship between the transformation of the political
        economic reality and the shifts in the translinguistic system. That is,
        the 'mixed-up' code appears to be taking on interesting new forms and
        significance just at the historic moment in which Marquesans' are
        attempting to position themselves on a global scene in which they are
        almost no longer French -- as France has finished its nuclear tests
        there and is now negotiating its political and economic withdrawal and
        the French Polynesians' 'freedom'. On the other hand, Marquesans are
        only ambivalently French Polynesian as they are decidedly not Tahitian
        (i.e. inhabitants of the island chosen by the French long ago to be the
        administrative center of the far-flung colony and who now for the most
        part run the nearly autonomous territory). Nonetheless, Marquesans are
        willingly Polynesian as a result of contacts made at Pacific dance and
        music festivals and on the tatooing and double-hulled canoing scene.
        Finally, they are interested in affiliations with Menike (including
        English-speakers of all nationalities though originally American), and
        yet would clearly not want to be swallowed. I think the elements of
        these 'other' codes will be strategically deployed in a mixed register
        for a long time to come, along with a number of key Marquesan elements
        (the tell-tale /k/, a large number of lexemes including the turn holder
        'mea', and evidence of Polynesian morpho-syntactic calquing). Thus, the
        act of mixing will remain ideologically significant in the articulation
        of the emergence of their post-colonial identities -- i.e., indicative
        of their desire to operate locally while representing themselves
        globally. In such a context, purism seems like a conservative
        neo-colonial movement in which the deeply rooted linguistic shame over
        inadequate and incorrect French is applied wholesale to 'degenerate'
        Marquesan. And the nostalgia for the noble past (of which only the old
        language can speak truly) seems like something of a Western imposition.

        Well, anyway, that's my reading.

        Kate

        Celso Alvarez Cáccamo wrote:
        >
        > Hello,
        >
        > Kate Riley poses an interesting issue regarding language
        > maintenance and identity:
        >
        > > My emphasis is that 'shift' does not necessarily mean 'loss' as
        > > the new syncretic code and/or code-switching register can serve
        > > the functions of the 'pure' language of signaling and
        > > articulating identity if people are not ashamed of it.
        >
        > To me the issue is what kind(s) of identity/ies the emerging
        > varieties and practices channel. If the constant of social
        > domination through language is the construction of a
        > sociolinguistic order where distinction is masked under
        > "difference", then surely the type of varieties involved in
        > social stratification don't matter. But, isn't an element of
        > possible social resistance lost when evident markers of identity
        > are lost, that is, when bilingualism leads to frequent language
        > alternation and then to fused lects which may relexify
        > gradually until practically constituting a standard-with-dialects
        > continuum with the superimposed varieties?
        >
        > Kate, can the new varieties and practices signal the same
        > types of identity as before? Aren't there social and cultural
        > implications in this process?
        >
        > -celso
        >
        > --
        > Celso Alvarez Cáccamo Tel. +34 981 167000 ext. 1888
        > Linguística Geral, Faculdade de Filologia FAX +34 981 167151
        > Universidade da Corunha lxalvarz@...
        > 15071 A Corunha, Galiza (Espanha) http://www.udc.es/dep/lx/cac/
        >
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      • Jdltn414@cs.com
        Sophie and Kate, While not relevant in the area of language contact between a European language and an Amerindian language, the relationship of French to
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 2, 2000
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          Sophie and Kate,

          While not relevant in the area of language contact between a European
          language and an Amerindian language, the relationship of French to Occitan in
          the the South of France is one filled with opportunities to explore the very
          ideas that you are discussing. As this is my area of interest, I would be
          glad to offer what I can in the way of assistance. I am a native bilingual
          speaker of both French and Occitan and have been exploring formally and
          informally the phenomenon of code switching in our speech community.

          Please let me know if you would like to discuss this further. I welcome
          correspondence in either French or English.

          Jim DALTON
        • Jdltn414@cs.com
          I agree with Celso. Language identity and social identity are inexorably linked. When the language that is imposed on a given area by conquest or
          Message 4 of 15 , Nov 2, 2000
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            I agree with Celso. Language identity and social identity are inexorably
            linked. When the language that is imposed on a given area by conquest or
            circumstance succeeds in replacing the local language as the "usual" form of
            communication, a great deal of local identity and influence is lost. The
            choice or need to speak one language or another is an important and powerful
            one that carries with it the power to dictate how social and linguistic
            realities are constructed. Common and usual forms of communication shape
            everyday reality, dictating (to one extent or another) the terms by which we
            exchange ideas.
          • Jane Freeland
            It s a while since I wrote to the list, though I have been following arguments with interest, since returning to the list after a gap. I have a more qualified
            Message 5 of 15 , Nov 5, 2000
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              It's a while since I wrote to the list, though I have been following
              arguments with interest, since returning to the list after a gap.

              I have a more qualified agreement to what Celso and EST have to say about
              language and identity. In the region where I do research, the Caribbean
              Coast region of Nicaragua, there exist groups who have shifted their
              language (as a consequence of just the kind of imposition you describe).
              However, they have not lost their identity as indigenous groups. In a
              climate where an ideology of 'language=authentic identity', created for all
              the best and most positive reasons under the Sandinista government, this has
              the effect of implicitly categorising them as 'less authentic', and somehow
              careless for having 'lost' their language. This imposes extra strain on
              groups who find themselves at the bottom of a linguistic hierarchy in which
              some indigenous languages are displaced not by the superimposed 'colonial'
              language, but by other indigenous languages. I was, for instance, deeply
              saddened, at the (1987) multi-ethnic assembly which ratified the autonomy
              law for this region (one of the first in Latin America, and part of one of
              the earliest constitutions to categorise a latin american nation state as
              'multiethnic') when leaders of indigenous and ethnic groups who had not
              'lost' their languages spoke in them at the closing ceremonies, to hear the
              Rama leader speak in the English Creole which is now their L1, of his shame
              at not being able to speak in his 'mother tongue'.

              In other words, perhaps the assumption of a simple one-to-one relationship
              between language and identity needs to be re-examined. Where groups still
              have a language to cherish, and feel that this is a core value of their
              identity, then clearly they must receive the best possible support to
              maintain it. Where they do not, those groups should not condemn the others
              to some kind of oblivion - there are other core values. We also need to
              bear in mind that 'identity' is not a single, monolithic entity - in complex
              ecologies of language like this one, language(s) is (are)used to construct
              and negotiate complex identities. We Europeans and Euroamericans run the
              risk, I think, of imposing not only our languages on indigenous peoples in
              other parts of the world, but also our ideology of language and nationhood.
              Jane Freeland

              On Thu, 2 Nov 2000 13:39:15 EST, code-switching@egroups.com wrote:

              > I agree with Celso. Language identity and social identity are inexorably

              > linked. When the language that is imposed on a given area by conquest or

              > circumstance succeeds in replacing the local language as the "usual" form
              of
              > communication, a great deal of local identity and influence is lost. The

              > choice or need to speak one language or another is an important and
              powerful
              > one that carries with it the power to dictate how social and linguistic
              > realities are constructed. Common and usual forms of communication shape

              > everyday reality, dictating (to one extent or another) the terms by which
              we
              > exchange ideas.
              >
              >
              > To Post a message: code-switching@...
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              code-switching-unsubscribe@...
              > Web page: http//www.egroups.com/group/code-switching
              >


              Home address:
              3, Greville Road
              Shirley
              Southampton SO15 5AW
              Tel: 023 80 496211
              work email: jane.freeland@...





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            • Jdltn414@cs.com
              Dear Jane, Thank you for a very thoughtful and insightful return to the list. I must say that I quite agree with most of your conclusions and think that you
              Message 6 of 15 , Nov 5, 2000
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                Dear Jane,

                Thank you for a very thoughtful and insightful return to the list. I must
                say that I quite agree with most of your conclusions and think that you have
                chosen an excellent example in Nicaragua to illustrate your point.

                While I believe clearly that language and identity are inexorably linked, it
                does not follow that socio-linguistic identities are mutually exclusive or
                that two or more languages cannot co-exist without significant loss of
                identity. Provided that each of the languages is afford equal or nearly equal
                official status, socio-linguistic identity can be maintained and preserved to
                be passed on to future generations. As you said, "Where groups still have a
                language to cherish, and feel that this is a core value of their identity,
                then clearly they must receive the best possible support to maintain it."

                Linguistic extremism is a response to the opression of "minority language"
                groups in the context of larger modern nations and their overseas colonies
                and territories. I do not support the notion of creating a personal or
                national identity or seeking national independence based on lingusitic and
                cultural differences alone. To point to some currnet examples of liguistic
                "reconciliation", I return to those examples most familiar to me, those of
                Occitan, Breton, Catalan, Basque, and Alsatian in France. Those of us who are
                speakers of one or another of these langauges have struggled to gain official
                status for our regional languages without any concerted or serious attempt to
                create separate nations based on individual linguistic and cultural
                identities. Most of the struggles have taken place within the context of the
                legal system of the French Republic and with the full knowledge that our
                languages will always co-exist with French in most social contexts. Most of
                us do not advocate the exclusion of French national identity, rather we have
                asked for and have begun to receive official respect and inclusion within the
                national framework. We have embraced France, but now ask that it embrace us
                as well. We are struggling to keep our languages alive after centuries of
                linguistic opression and exclusion.

                I thank you again for adding to our discussion and hope to hear more from you
                in the future.

                Jim DALTON
                North Bergen NJ USA
              • Jdltn414@cs.com
                Dear Sophie, My area of interest is also that of mixed languages. I have studied the relationship between French and Occitan (Provencal) as well as that of
                Message 7 of 15 , Nov 5, 2000
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                  Dear Sophie,

                  My area of interest is also that of mixed languages. I have studied the
                  relationship between French and Occitan (Provencal) as well as that of French
                  and Catalan in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Having grown up in
                  a tri-lingual household (French/Provencal/English), I have extensive personal
                  experience that I would be more than willing to share.

                  Occitan is a very appropriate subject for study as it has virtually no living
                  monolingual speakers. It is always spoken by people who also speak French and
                  has become as a result of this level of contact, a truly mixed language.
                  Speakers do and must use some local variety of French in many contexts where
                  it is clearly inappropriate or impossible to use Occitan. When Occitan is
                  used, it is clearly and frequently mixed with French when referring to
                  concepts in areas where French is used exclusively (technical terms, for
                  example). By contrast, there is no social context in which French would be
                  considered socially inappropriate per se. Add to this the fact that there are
                  so few people who write in Occitan and you have a perfect recipe for a truly
                  mixed language.

                  While there are a number of us who do read and write Occitan, we are too few
                  to really make a difference in the current status of the language among those
                  of our own generation. It has begun to be used as a medium of instruction in
                  some schools, leading some of us to believe that it will survive and thrive
                  in the future as a language in its own right.

                  For the moment in day to day life, the two languages co-exist and intertwine
                  at a variety of different ways.
                • Celso Alvarez Cáccamo
                  Hello all, thanks for your messages and comments to the issue of language, c-s and identity. What I was trying to say in my message is: (1) (we seem to agree
                  Message 8 of 15 , Nov 5, 2000
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                    Hello all, thanks for your messages and comments to the issue
                    of language, c-s and identity. What I was trying to say in my
                    message is: (1) (we seem to agree on this), patterns of language
                    alternation between languages A and B cannot mean the same as
                    patterns of alternation between A and whatever variety replaced
                    B through language shift, say C. C has emerged as a product of
                    social processes and interactions which, as a matter of fact,
                    historically made B be replaced, for some reason; therefore
                    the meanings C channels must be somehow "new", as new are the
                    contrasting meanings that A channel, regardless of the fact
                    that structurally A remains the same.

                    (2) (And in this we may not agree), At a larger macro-level,
                    of course group identities may be preserved despite massive
                    language shift. This is more or less Penepole Eckert's
                    argument regarding, precisely, Occitan, right? (Eckert, Penelope.
                    1980. "Diglossia: separate and unequal". Linguistics 18,
                    1053-1064.). However, macro analyses of ethnicity (or activism
                    about language rights etc.) sometimes level out class issues.
                    For instance, the spread of bilingualism and assimilation to
                    a dominant language is undoubtedly a source for social advancement
                    which responds to new economic needs for ruling elites to make
                    class boundaries more permeable. This in itself is socially
                    significant, for it blurs the visibility of class distinctions,
                    which are more evident when class correlates with
                    ethnicity and monolingualism. Significantly,
                    too, this, two-way spread of bilingualism is accompanied by
                    the emergence of bilingual local elites which claim language
                    rights (Occitania is a point in case; Galiza, too) and in so
                    doing reproduce symbolic class domination over those people
                    who simply "speak the language". So, by a people's "integrating"
                    in "the larger culture" we now have two ruling, legitimate
                    languages instead of one, new forms of class competition
                    between elites of both languages, and all under the same basic
                    social mechanism of exclusion. I'll simply never understand
                    why ruling, language-A elites (French in France, Spanish in
                    Spain, Anglo in the USA) don't transparently embrace their
                    often-praised "tolerance" toward "minority" groups as a
                    consensus-building discursive tactic and social practice which
                    would change nothing substantially and would simply place the
                    free (?) market principle of competition for material and
                    simbolic resources under clearer perspective, both for its
                    proponents and for those who resist it. But of course, perhaps
                    this clearer perspective is what is being avoided. I always loved
                    (and quote and requote) John Haviland's description of native
                    characterizations of literacy-based social distinction
                    in Zinacantán (Haviland, John B. 1986. `Con Buenos Chiles': Talk,
                    targets and teasing in Zinacantán. Text 6.3, 249-282): in Tzotzil,
                    to be literate translates simply as "to know Paper", and
                    the school is the place where you "learn Paper". And, with
                    other nuances, there are always those who know Paper and those
                    who don't, regardless of the Language(s) of Paper.

                    Hey, it turned out long, sorry.

                    -celso

                    --
                    Celso Alvarez Cáccamo Tel. +34 981 167000 ext. 1888
                    Linguística Geral, Faculdade de Filologia FAX +34 981 167151
                    Universidade da Corunha lxalvarz@...
                    15071 A Corunha, Galiza (Espanha) http://www.udc.es/dep/lx/cac/
                  • James L. Fidelholtz
                    On Mon, 6 Nov 2000, Celso Alvarez Cáccamo wrote: [snip] ... Hey, Celso, is that Learn Paper or Learn role(s) , since both would be papel in Spanish. The
                    Message 9 of 15 , Nov 6, 2000
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                      On Mon, 6 Nov 2000, Celso Alvarez Cαccamo wrote:
                      [snip]
                      >... I always loved
                      >(and quote and requote) John Haviland's description of native
                      >characterizations of literacy-based social distinction
                      >in Zinacantαn (Haviland, John B. 1986. `Con Buenos Chiles': Talk,
                      >targets and teasing in Zinacantαn. Text 6.3, 249-282): in Tzotzil,
                      >to be literate translates simply as "to know Paper", and
                      >the school is the place where you "learn Paper". And, with
                      >other nuances, there are always those who know Paper and those
                      >who don't, regardless of the Language(s) of Paper.

                      Hey, Celso, is that 'Learn Paper' or 'Learn role(s)', since both would
                      be 'papel' in Spanish. The second sounds more likely to me.
                      Jim

                      --
                      James L. Fidelholtz e-mail: jfidel@...
                      Posgrado en Ciencias del Lenguaje tel.: +(52-2)229-5500 x5705
                      Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades fax: +(01-2) 229-5681
                      Benemιrita Universidad Autσnoma de Puebla, MΙXICO
                    • Harold F. Schiffman
                      I ve been meaning to chime in here, especially about Breton, which Jim Dalton mentions below. I lived in France for several years, and met people who
                      Message 10 of 15 , Nov 6, 2000
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                        I've been meaning to chime in here, especially about Breton, which Jim
                        Dalton mentions below. I lived in France for several years, and met
                        people who identified themselves as 'Breton' (one even *named* Breton) who
                        didn't speak a word of the language, but still saw themselves as
                        unambiguously Breton. Jim does mention the term "core value" which I
                        think has been used by Smolicz productively to note that core values of
                        ethnicity *may* include language (for some groups) but for some others,
                        may not involve a separate linguistic identity in the present (though
                        there may have been one in the past). For these others, other values are
                        the "primordial" ones (religion, descent, common history, "race",
                        whatever).

                        Reference: Smolicz, J. J.. 1979. Culture and Education in a Plural
                        Society. Canberra: Curriculum Development Center.

                        Hal Schiffman

                        On Sun, 5 Nov 2000 Jdltn414@... wrote:

                        > Dear Jane,
                        >
                        > Thank you for a very thoughtful and insightful return to the list. I must
                        > say that I quite agree with most of your conclusions and think that you have
                        > chosen an excellent example in Nicaragua to illustrate your point.
                        >
                        > While I believe clearly that language and identity are inexorably linked, it
                        > does not follow that socio-linguistic identities are mutually exclusive or
                        > that two or more languages cannot co-exist without significant loss of
                        > identity. Provided that each of the languages is afford equal or nearly equal
                        > official status, socio-linguistic identity can be maintained and preserved to
                        > be passed on to future generations. As you said, "Where groups still have a
                        > language to cherish, and feel that this is a core value of their identity,
                        > then clearly they must receive the best possible support to maintain it."
                        >
                        > Linguistic extremism is a response to the opression of "minority language"
                        > groups in the context of larger modern nations and their overseas colonies
                        > and territories. I do not support the notion of creating a personal or
                        > national identity or seeking national independence based on lingusitic and
                        > cultural differences alone. To point to some currnet examples of liguistic
                        > "reconciliation", I return to those examples most familiar to me, those of
                        > Occitan, Breton, Catalan, Basque, and Alsatian in France. Those of us who are
                        > speakers of one or another of these langauges have struggled to gain official
                        > status for our regional languages without any concerted or serious attempt to
                        > create separate nations based on individual linguistic and cultural
                        > identities. Most of the struggles have taken place within the context of the
                        > legal system of the French Republic and with the full knowledge that our
                        > languages will always co-exist with French in most social contexts. Most of
                        > us do not advocate the exclusion of French national identity, rather we have
                        > asked for and have begun to receive official respect and inclusion within the
                        > national framework. We have embraced France, but now ask that it embrace us
                        > as well. We are struggling to keep our languages alive after centuries of
                        > linguistic opression and exclusion.
                        >
                        > I thank you again for adding to our discussion and hope to hear more from you
                        > in the future.
                        >
                        > Jim DALTON
                        > North Bergen NJ USA
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To Post a message: code-switching@...
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: code-switching-unsubscribe@...
                        > Web page: http//www.egroups.com/group/code-switching
                        >
                      • Celso Alvarez Cáccamo
                        ... Jim, I don t think so. I can t locate the article now (as usually happens!) , but my notes say - In Tzotzil, to be literate is `to know paper ! The
                        Message 11 of 15 , Nov 7, 2000
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                          James L. Fidelholtz wrote:
                          >
                          > On Mon, 6 Nov 2000, Celso Alvarez Cáccamo wrote:
                          > [snip]
                          > >... I always loved
                          > >(and quote and requote) John Haviland's description of native
                          > >characterizations of literacy-based social distinction
                          > >in Zinacantán (Haviland, John B. 1986. `Con Buenos Chiles': Talk,
                          > >targets and teasing in Zinacantán. Text 6.3, 249-282): in Tzotzil,
                          > >to be literate translates simply as "to know Paper", and
                          > >the school is the place where you "learn Paper". And, with
                          > >other nuances, there are always those who know Paper and those
                          > >who don't, regardless of the Language(s) of Paper.
                          >
                          > Hey, Celso, is that 'Learn Paper' or 'Learn role(s)', since both would
                          > be 'papel' in Spanish. The second sounds more likely to me.
                          > Jim

                          Jim, I don't think so. I can't locate the article now (as usually
                          happens!) , but my notes say "- In Tzotzil, to be literate is `to
                          know paper'! The school is translated literally as the `place where
                          one learns paper'."

                          Haviland refers to a Tzotzil expression, not a Spanish one.

                          -celso
                          --
                          Celso Alvarez Cáccamo Tel. +34 981 167000 ext. 1888
                          Linguística Geral, Faculdade de Filologia FAX +34 981 167151
                          Universidade da Corunha lxalvarz@...
                          15071 A Corunha, Galiza (Espanha) http://www.udc.es/dep/lx/cac/
                        • Jane Freeland
                          Dear Jim, Harold and others Thanks for your response to my response. Your discussion of the oppressed languages of France suggests a further question, in
                          Message 12 of 15 , Nov 8, 2000
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Dear Jim, Harold and others
                            Thanks for your response to my response. Your discussion of the oppressed
                            languages of France suggests a further question, in relation to complexly
                            interethnic regions like Nicaragua. The issue there is not one of
                            ‘linguistic extremism’ either, in the sense that none of the groups is
                            seeking nationhood on the basis of language – they would be quite satisfied
                            if governments which have succeeded the Sandinistas would respect and enable
                            the fulfillment of the Autonomy Law (1987), which could if properly
                            implemented give them all the space they need to be ‘different kinds of
                            Nicaraguans’. There remains, however, the question of what
                            conceptualization of ‘a language’ is brought to bear on their language
                            planning. Here, Sophie’s messages about ‘mixed languages’ are important.
                            Given that most of the ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in the
                            Nicaraguan Caribbean region (and indeed all along the Central American
                            Caribbean) have interacted historically over a long period of time, and
                            still do, there has been considerable interaction between their languages,
                            and there is still complex and creative use of codeswitching and mixing.
                            What seems to be happening now (and I stress ‘seems’ because more work needs
                            to be done on the discourses expressing the ‘linguistic cultures’ and
                            ‘language myths’ of the different indigenous peoples and ethnic groups
                            themselves) is that they tend to approach the maintenance and development of
                            their languages in terms of the European/Euroamerican conceptualizations of
                            language and approaches to language planning of the dominant culture(s), and
                            of those of us (I include myself) who have been involved in supporting them.
                            Since the space for maintenance and development is in education, there is an
                            assumption that literacy and writing are essential, and that an urgent task
                            is the ‘recovery’ domains of language which have been ‘lost’ as a
                            consequence of language shift towards other more powerful languages in the
                            hierarchy, and the ‘normalization’ of all languages (as conceived by Catalan
                            sociolinguists). This produces (amongst many other things) a drive towards
                            separation of languages, an emphasis on competition between them, and a
                            focus on ‘deficit’ and on ‘purification’. All this is perfectly
                            understandable given the long subordination of these languages. It also has
                            the effect of denying or condemning code switching, at least in theory, even
                            as it continues to be an important resource in interethnic communication.

                            This is, of course, a dreadful over-simplification, but I think it sketches
                            the outline of the problem accurately enough. I feel that approaches to
                            planning maintenance and development in such contexts are more likely to
                            succeed if they start from an understanding and acceptance of actual
                            relationships among the various languages, and of the cultural and
                            communicative practices that sustain those relationships now, so that they
                            can first be supported and sustained in these usages. ‘Development’ and
                            ‘normalization’ might follow, but not necessarily in the directions dictated
                            by the concepts of dominant cultures.

                            However, these concepts are hegemonic – indeed, they underpin much of the
                            current discourse on ‘linguistic rights’, so that it is difficult to put
                            forward other views without appearing to be ‘against linguistic rights’. I
                            am aware of the work of sociolinguists such as Le Page, Coulmas, and of
                            course Mühlhäusler on this. Any other suggestions of supporting literature
                            would be welcome…
                            Jane

                            On Sun, 5 Nov 2000 11:46:09 EST, code-switching@egroups.com wrote:

                            > Dear Jane,
                            >
                            > Thank you for a very thoughtful and insightful return to the list. I
                            must
                            > say that I quite agree with most of your conclusions and think that you
                            have
                            > chosen an excellent example in Nicaragua to illustrate your point.
                            >
                            > While I believe clearly that language and identity are inexorably linked,
                            it
                            > does not follow that socio-linguistic identities are mutually exclusive
                            or
                            > that two or more languages cannot co-exist without significant loss of
                            > identity. Provided that each of the languages is afford equal or nearly
                            equal
                            > official status, socio-linguistic identity can be maintained and
                            preserved to
                            > be passed on to future generations. As you said, "Where groups still have
                            a
                            > language to cherish, and feel that this is a core value of their
                            identity,
                            > then clearly they must receive the best possible support to maintain it."

                            >
                            > Linguistic extremism is a response to the opression of "minority
                            language"
                            > groups in the context of larger modern nations and their overseas
                            colonies
                            > and territories. I do not support the notion of creating a personal or
                            > national identity or seeking national independence based on lingusitic
                            and
                            > cultural differences alone. To point to some currnet examples of
                            liguistic
                            > "reconciliation", I return to those examples most familiar to me, those
                            of
                            > Occitan, Breton, Catalan, Basque, and Alsatian in France. Those of us who
                            are
                            > speakers of one or another of these langauges have struggled to gain
                            official
                            > status for our regional languages without any concerted or serious
                            attempt to
                            > create separate nations based on individual linguistic and cultural
                            > identities. Most of the struggles have taken place within the context of
                            the
                            > legal system of the French Republic and with the full knowledge that our
                            > languages will always co-exist with French in most social contexts. Most
                            of
                            > us do not advocate the exclusion of French national identity, rather we
                            have
                            > asked for and have begun to receive official respect and inclusion within
                            the
                            > national framework. We have embraced France, but now ask that it embrace
                            us
                            > as well. We are struggling to keep our languages alive after centuries of

                            > linguistic opression and exclusion.
                            >
                            > I thank you again for adding to our discussion and hope to hear more from
                            you
                            > in the future.
                            >
                            > Jim DALTON
                            > North Bergen NJ USA
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                            >


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