Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Sociolinguistics Related Abstracts

19 Sociolinguistic Analysis of Campus Slang: The Case of Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit, Nigeria

Authors: Charles Okon Effiong


This paper is a sociolinguistic analysis of the semantics of students’ slang in Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit, Nigeria. The descriptive survey design was deployed for the study and data were collected from one hundred and fifty (150) students through a series of instruments such as questionnaire, interviews and observations. The questionnaire was administered randomly to levels 200, 300 and Extra Time students only. Interviews and observations were also conducted on the students. These categories of students were selected because they had spent a longer time in the college and were thought to be familiar with campus slang. A total of ninety two (92) slang expressions were taken from the questionnaire and out of this number, twenty six (26) slang expressions were peculiar to the college while sixty six (66) were those slang terms also used in the society. The study proves the notion that every speaker handles a variety of registers and tends to choose among them in accordance with the social situation in which he finds himself. The study shows campus slang as a sociolect which facilitates communication among the students in a different sense. The slang expressions are fully intelligible to the students and this unique and elaborate lexicon serves to achieve group identity among other social implications.

Keywords: Communication, Sociolinguistics, Social Relationship, Slang

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18 Crossing Borders: In Research and Business Communication

Authors: Edith Podhovnik


Cultures play a role in business communication and in research. At the example of language in international business, this paper addresses the issue of how the research cultures of management research and linguistics as well as cultures as such can be linked. After looking at existing research on language in international business, this paper approaches communication in international business from a linguistic angle and attempts to explain communication issues in businesses based on linguistic research. Thus, the paper makes a step into cross-disciplinary research combining management research with linguistics.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, language in international business, ethnopragmatics, cultural scripts

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17 The Complaint Speech Act Set Produced by Arab Students in the UAE

Authors: Tanju Deveci


It appears that the speech act of complaint has not received as much attention as other speech acts. However, the face-threatening nature of this speech act requires a special attention in multicultural contexts in particular. The teaching context in the UAE universities, where a big majority of teaching staff comes from other cultures, requires investigations into this speech act in order to improve communication between students and faculty. This session will outline the results of a study conducted with this purpose. The realization of complaints by Freshman English students in Communication courses at Petroleum Institute was investigated to identify communication patterns that seem to cause a strain. Data were collected using a role-play between a teacher and students, and a judgment scale completed by two of the instructors in the Communications Department. The initial findings reveal that the students had difficulty putting their case, produced the speech act of criticism along with a complaint and that they produced both requests and demands as candidate solutions. The judgement scales revealed that the students’ attitude was not appropriate most of the time and that the judges would behave differently from students. It is concluded that speech acts, in general, and complaint, in particular, need to be taught to learners explicitly to improve interpersonal communication in multicultural societies. Some teaching ideas are provided to help increase foreign language learners’ sociolinguistic competence.

Keywords: Language Teaching, Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, speech act, complaint

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16 English Loanwords in the Egyptian Variety of Arabic: Morphological and Phonological Changes

Authors: Mohamed Yacoub


This paper investigates the English loanwords in the Egyptian variety of Arabic and reaches three findings. Data, in the first finding, were collected from Egyptian movies and soap operas; over two hundred words have been borrowed from English, code-switching was not included. These words then have been put into eleven different categories according to their use and part of speech. Finding two addresses the morphological and phonological change that occurred to these words. Regarding the phonological change, eight categories were found in both consonant and vowel variation, five for consonants and three for vowels. Examples were given for each. Regarding the morphological change, five categories were found including the masculine, feminine, dual, broken, and non-pluralize-able nouns. The last finding is the answers to a four-question survey that addresses forty eight native speakers of Egyptian Arabic and found that most participants did not recognize English borrowed words and thought they were originally Arabic and could not give Arabic equivalents for the loanwords that they could recognize.

Keywords: Morphology, Sociolinguistics, Phonology, Variation, borrowing, loanwords, Egyptian dialect

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15 The Intonation of Romanian Greetings: A Sociolinguistics Approach

Authors: Mihaela Mocanu, Anca-Diana Bibiri, Adrian Turculeț


In a language the inventory of greetings is dynamic with frequent input and output, although this is hardly noticed by the speakers. In this register, there are a number of constant, conservative elements that survive different language models (among them, the classic formulae: bună ziua! (good afternoon!), bună seara! (good evening!), noapte bună! (good night!), la revedere! (goodbye!) and a number of items that fail to pass the test of time, according to language use at a time (ciao!, pa!, bai!). The source of innovation depends both of internal factors (contraction, conversion, combination of classic formulae of greetings), and of external ones (borrowings and calques). Their use imposes their frequencies at once, namely the elimination of the use of others. This paper presents a sociolinguistic approach of contemporary Romanian greetings, based on prosodic surveys in two research projects: AMPRom, and SoRoEs. Romanian language presents a rich inventory of questions (especially partial interrogatives questions/WH-Q) which are used as greetings, alone or, more commonly accompanying a proper greeting. The representative of the typical formulae is Ce mai faci? (How are you?), which, unlike its English counterpart How do you do?, has not become a stereotype, but retains an obvious emotional impact, while serving as a mark of sociolinguistic group. The analyzed corpus consists of structures containing greetings recorded in the main Romanian cultural (urban) centers. From the methodological point of view, the acoustic analysis of the recorded data is performed using software tools (GoldWave, Praat), identifying intonation patterns related to three sociolinguistics variables: age, sex and level of education. The intonation patterns of the analyzed statements are at the interface between partial questions and typical greetings.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Romanian Language, Acoustic Analysis, greetings

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14 The Nature of Borrowings into Arabic during Different Historical Periods

Authors: Maria L. Swanson


Language is a system which constantly changes and reflects social and cultural transformations of a speech community. If it is phonetic system, morphological patterns and syntactic arrangements undergo little charge and are not easily transferable from one language to another, the lexicon has a high degree of flexibility. Borrowings in Arabic have always been an interesting and important subject of study to various fields of linguistics, history and culturology, and there is quite number of works devoted to this subject (al-Khalīl, Sībawīḥ, Jeffery, Belkin, al-Maghribii, Holes, Stetkevich, el-Mawlūdī, between many others). At the same time, the history of borrowing has never been described as a process starting from its originating and up to the present time. Most of the researches study lexical and morphological adaptation of borrowed words for specific or several historical periods or delineate this process on the whole. Meanwhile, we have described the whole history of borrowings in Arabic with the brief depicting of lexical and morphological specifics for each historical period using quantitative method through dividing Arabic borrowings into several groups, basing on the specific of their adaptation of new vocabulary which is tightly related to the global transformations in the Arabic history. We explain reasons for borrowings of specific lexical layers for each historical period together with the description of its morphological specifics. We also use qualitative approach through performing statistics about the share of loan vocabulary in Arabic during different periods and the percentage of borrowings from donor languages. The history of a character and amount of borrowings is a good resource for theoretical and practical lexicography and morphology studies. It is also beneficial for researchers in the field of global and specific national, political and social developments, and different types of contacts.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Anthropological Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, borrowings

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13 Anti-Language in Jordanian Spoken Arabic: A Sociolinguistic Perspective

Authors: Ahmad Mohammad Al-Harahsheh


Anti-language reflects anti-society; it is a restricted spoken code used among a group of interlocutors because of anti-society. This study aims to shed light on the sociolinguistic characteristics of anti-language used by prisoners in Jordan. The participants included were 15 male-Jordanian prisoners who have recently been released. The data were written, transliterated, and analyzed on the basis of sociolinguistics and discourse analysis. This study draws on sociolinguistic theory of language codes as the theoretical framework. The study concludes that anti-language is a male language and is used for secrecy, as the prisoners' tendency to protect themselves from the police; it is a verbal competition, contest and display. In addition, it is employed to express obnoxious ideas and acts by using more pleasant or blurred words and expressions. Also, the anti-language used by prisoners has six linguistic characteristics in JSA (Jordanian Spoken Arabic), such as relexicalization, neologism, rhyme formation, semantic change, derivation, and metaphorical expressions.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Prisoners, anti-language, Jordanian Spoken Arabic

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12 Translation and Sociolinguistics of Classical Books

Authors: Laura De Almeida


This paper aims to present research involving the translation of classical books originally in English and translated into the Portuguese language. The objective is to analyze the linguistic varieties evident and how they appear in the other language the work was translated into. We based our study on the sociolinguistics theory, more specifically, the study of the Black English Vernacular. Our methodology is built on collecting data from the speech characters of the Black English Vernacular from some books such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. On doing so, we compare the two versions of a book and how they reflected the linguistic variety. Our purpose is to show that some translators do not worry when dealing with linguistic variety. In other words, they just translate the story without taking into account some important linguistic aspects which need attention, such as language variation.

Keywords: Linguistic variation, Sociolinguistics, Translation, classical books

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11 Motivation and Multiglossia: Exploring the Diversity of Interests, Attitudes, and Engagement of Arabic Learners

Authors: Anna-Maria Ramezanzadeh


Demand for Arabic language is growing worldwide, driven by increased interest in the multifarious purposes the language serves, both for the population of heritage learners and those studying Arabic as a foreign language. The diglossic, or indeed multiglossic nature of the language as used in Arabic speaking communities however, is seldom represented in the content of classroom courses. This disjoint between the nature of provision and students’ expectations can severely impact their engagement with course material, and their motivation to either commence or continue learning the language. The nature of motivation and its relationship to multiglossia is sparsely explored in current literature on Arabic. The theoretical framework here proposed aims to address this gap by presenting a model and instruments for the measurement of Arabic learners’ motivation in relation to the multiple strands of the language. It adopts and develops the Second Language Motivation Self-System model (L2MSS), originally proposed by Zoltan Dörnyei, which measures motivation as the desire to reduce the discrepancy between leaners’ current and future self-concepts in terms of the second language (L2). The tripartite structure incorporates measures of the Current L2 Self, Future L2 Self (consisting of an Ideal L2 Self, and an Ought-To Self), and the L2 Learning Experience. The strength of the self-concepts is measured across three different domains of Arabic: Classical, Modern Standard and Colloquial. The focus on learners’ self-concepts allows for an exploration of the effect of multiple factors on motivation towards Arabic, including religion. The relationship between Islam and Arabic is often given as a prominent reason behind some students’ desire to learn the language. Exactly how and why this factor features in learners’ L2 self-concepts has not yet been explored. Specifically designed surveys and interview protocols are proposed to facilitate the exploration of these constructs. The L2 Learning Experience component of the model is operationalized as learners’ task-based engagement. Engagement is conceptualised as multi-dimensional and malleable. In this model, situation-specific measures of cognitive, behavioural, and affective components of engagement are collected via specially designed repeated post-task self-report surveys on Personal Digital Assistant over multiple Arabic lessons. Tasks are categorised according to language learning skill. Given the domain-specific uses of the different varieties of Arabic, the relationship between learners’ engagement with different types of tasks and their overall motivational profiles will be examined to determine the extent of the interaction between the two constructs. A framework for this data analysis is proposed and hypotheses discussed. The unique combination of situation-specific measures of engagement and a person-oriented approach to measuring motivation allows for a macro- and micro-analysis of the interaction between learners and the Arabic learning process. By combining cross-sectional and longitudinal elements with a mixed-methods design, the model proposed offers the potential for capturing a comprehensive and detailed picture of the motivation and engagement of Arabic learners. The application of this framework offers a number of numerous potential pedagogical and research implications which will also be discussed.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Motivation, Engagement, Diglossia, Arabic, multiglossia

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10 The Colombian Linguistic Landscape: A Study of Commercial Signs

Authors: Francia Martinez


This study documents and demonstrates the profound impact of the high status of American English and culture in Colombian commercial landscape due to the globalization and commodification of English. It also documents and describes how Colombian advertisers make use of various language and visual mechanisms in the commercial linguistic landscape to convey messages, create an image with which the target audience can identify, and build a relationship with that target audience. The data (in the form of pictures) were collected in different cities in Colombia and were classified and organized into different categories for the reliability and validity of the analysis. The research questions were: do the ubiquity and high status of American English and culture play a major role in the Colombian commercial linguistic landscape? If so, how?, what roles do national and local culture and language (Spanish) play in the commercial linguistic landscape?, and what different linguistic and visual strategies do Colombian advertisers employ to reach their target audience? Based on data analysis and results, American and local culture and icons play a major role when Colombian advertisers create and design their commercial logos and ads to get consumers’ attention and establish a rapport with them in a successful way. In order to achieve their objectives, Colombian advertisers rely on creative linguistic and visual techniques in their ads, such as puns, humor, irony, comparisons, metaphors, mocking, exaggeration, parody, personification, sarcasm, satire, allusion, onomatopoeias, and imitation (copycat or cloning).

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, rhetorical devices, linguistic landscape, Colombian ads

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9 Focus Group Discussion (FGD) Strategy in Teaching Sociolinguistics to Enhance Students' Mastery: A Survey Research in Sanata Dharma ELESP Department

Authors: Nugraheni Widianingtyas, Niko Albert Setiawan


For ELESP Teachers’ College, teaching learning strategies such as presentation and group discussion are classical ones to be implemented in the class. In order to create a breakthrough which can bring about more positive advancements in the learning process, a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) is being offered and implemented in certain classes. Interestingly, FGD is frequently used in the social-business inquiries such as for recruiting employees. It is then interesting to investigate FGD when it is implemented in the educational scope, especially in the Sociolinguistics class which regarded as one of the most arduous subjects in this study program. Thus, this study focused on how FGD enhances students Sociolinguistics mastery. In response to that, a quantitative survey research was conducted in which observation, questionnaire, and interview (triangulation method) became the instruments. The respondents of this study were 29 sixth-semester students who take Sociolinguistics of ELESP, Sanata Dharma University in 2017. The findings indicated that FGD could help students in enhancing Sociolinguistics mastery. In addition, it also revealed that FGD was exploring students’ logical thinking, English communication skill, and decision-making.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, focus group discussion, teaching strategy, material mastery

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8 Gender Differences in the Descriptions of Shape

Authors: Shu-Feng Chang


During the past years, gender issues have been discussed in many fields. It causes such differences not only in physical field but also in mental field. Gender differences also appear in our daily life, especially in the communication of spoken language. This statement was proved in the descriptions of color. However, the research about describing shape was fewer. The purpose of the study was to determine the description of the shape was different or alike due to gender. If it was different, this difference was dissimilar or as the same as the conclusion of color. Data were collected on the shape descriptions by 15 female and 15male participants in describing five pictures. As a result, it was really different for the descriptions of shape due to gender factor. The findings of shape descriptions were almost as the same as color naming with gender factor.

Keywords: Gender, Sociolinguistics, shape, naming

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7 Culture Sensitization: Understanding German Culture by Learning German

Authors: Lakshmi Shenoy


In today’s era of Globalization, arises the need that students and professionals relocate temporarily or permanently to another country in order to pursue their respective academic and career goals. This involves not only learning the local language of the country but also integrating oneself into the native culture. This paper explains the method of understanding a nation’s culture through the study of its language. The method uses language not as a series of rules that connect words together but as a social practice in which one can actively participate. It emphasizes on how culture provides an environment in which languages can flourish and how culture dictates the interpretation of the language especially in case of German. This paper introduces language and culture as inseparable entities, as two sides of the same coin.

Keywords: German, Sociolinguistics, Language and Culture, Ronald Wardhaugh

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6 A Cross-Linguistic Comparison on Compliment Responses in Turkish-English Bilinguals

Authors: Elifcan Oztekin


Compliment response strategies in cross-linguistic contexts have received a considerable amount of interest in sociolinguistic research in various language settings. In this respect, a common finding of these studies indicates that speakers of different languages employ different patterns in strategies to respond to compliments. This has triggered varying theoretical approaches to compliment responses within theories of politeness and the universality of speech acts. In the light of previous studies, the present study investigates compliment response strategies that Turkish-English bilingual university students use in English and Turkish response conditions through a cross-linguistic discourse completion task and interviews. Data were analyzed using Holmes’ (1988) taxonomy and the results indicate a similar pattern to what has been observed in Turkish compliments responses in previous research. Turkish-English comparisons also display noticeable similarities in macro-level strategies, while subtle differences in micro-level strategies were also observed.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, bilingualism, compliment response strategies, cross-cultural differences

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5 The Mayan Calendar: An Ideology Laden and Worldview Changing Discourse

Authors: John Rosswell Cummings III


This research examines the discourse ancient Maya ritual practice manifest and maintained through language in a contemporary society as led by a daykeeper— a Maya spiritual leader— with the objective of discovering if the Maya Calendar has an influence on worldview. Through an ethnography of communication and discursive analysis framework, this research examines the discourse of and around the Maya calendar through original research. Data collected includes the ceremonial performance of the Tzolkin ritual, a ritual that takes place every 13 days to ceremonially welcome one of the 20 Universal Forces. During the ceremony, participants supplicate, sacrifice, and venerate. This ritual, based off the Tzolkin cycle in the Mayan Calendar, contains strong, culture-binding ideologies. This research performs a close analysis of the 20 energies of the Tzolkin and their glyphs so as to gain a better understanding of current ideologies in Maya communities. Through a linguistic relativity frame of reference, including both the strong and weak versions, the 20 Universal Forces are shown to influence ways of life. This research argues that it is not just the native language, but the discourses native to the community as held through the calendar, influence thought and have the potential to offer an alternate worldview, thus shaping the cultural narrative which in return influences identity of the community. Research of this kind, on calendric systems and linguistic relativity, has the power to make great discoveries about the societies of the world and their worldviews.

Keywords: Cultural Studies, Discourse Analysis, Sociolinguistics, Anthropological Linguistics

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4 The Sociolinguistics of English Language Instant Messaging in Egypt: A Study Based on Corpus Analysis and Questionnaire Responses

Authors: Hasnaa Hasan Sultan Abdelreheem


In the status of English as a global language, and in the light of the presence of English in everyday activities of Egyptian life, the aim of the paper is to investigate the register (linguistic characteristics) of English in the instant messaging (IM) discourse as one of the most common computer-mediated communication (CMC) modes in Egypt where English is considerably used. In addition, the paper touches upon the contexts and functions of code-switching (CS) in English-Arabic discourse in Egypt, highlighting how and when cases of code-switching between English and Arabic occur. The study targets young Egyptians since it is noticed that English is more extensively used by younger generations in Egypt in many contexts for various purposes. It investigates the characteristics of English used, reasons for the preference of English to Arabic in certain contexts, types of English errors, contexts of English use, age of users, addresses, and purposes of code-switching. Two sources of data are involved: a corpus of 30 IM conversations (by both male and female participants), and responses to a survey in which a group of 49 participants (including some of the conversation providers). Findings of both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis indicated that English in Egypt is used as an interactive medium of communication among Egyptians regardless of their English proficiency levels. English is used in both formal and informal contexts among Egyptian professionals, students and younger generations in general for various purposes: personal, work, educational and others. Moreover, IM English used by Egyptians is generally mixed with Arabic, and this code-switching between English and the varieties of Arabic occurs in many contexts to fulfill different functions. Details of the frequency of using Arabic with different types of interlocutors, and of the varieties and forms of Arabic used are provided in the discussion. Both English and Arabic are regarded as vital for the Egyptian society, each for its own purposes and in its own contexts.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, Code-switching, English and Arabic, online communication in Egypt

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3 A Sociolinguistic Approach to the Translation of Children’s Literature: Exploring Identity Issues in the American English Translation of Manolito Gafotas

Authors: Owen Harrington-Fernandez, Pilar Alderete-Diez


Up until recently, translation studies treated children’s literature as something of a marginal preoccupation, but the recent attention that this text type has attracted suggests that it may be fertile ground for research. This paper contributes to this new research avenue by applying a sociolinguistic theoretical framework to explore issues around the intersubjective co-construction of identity in the American English translation of the Spanish children’s story, Manolito Gafotas. The application of Bucholtz and Hall’s framework achieves two objectives: (1) it identifies shifts in the translation of the main character’s behaviour as culturally and morally motivated manipulations, and (2) it demonstrates how the context of translation becomes the very censorship machine that delegitimises the identity of the main character, and, concomitantly, the identity of the implied reader(s). If we take identity to be an intersubjective phenomenon, then it logicall follows that expurgating the identity of the main character necessarily shifts the identity of the implied reader(s) also. It is a double censorship of identity carried out under the auspices of an intellectual colonisation of a Spanish text. After reporting on the results of the analysis, the paper ends by raising the question of censorship in translation, and, more specifically, in children’s literature, in order to promote debate around this topic.

Keywords: Identity, Sociolinguistics, Translation, Censorship

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2 Negotiating Communication Options for Deaf-Disabled Children

Authors: Steven J. Singer, Julianna F. Kamenakis, Allison R. Shapiro, Kimberly M. Cacciato


Communication and language are topics frequently studied among deaf children. However, there is limited research that focuses specifically on the communication and language experiences of Deaf-Disabled children. In this ethnography, researchers investigated the language experiences of six sets of parents with Deaf-Disabled children who chose American Sign Language (ASL) as the preferred mode of communication for their child. Specifically, the researchers were interested in the factors that influenced the parents’ decisions regarding their child’s communication options, educational placements, and social experiences. Data collection in this research included 18 hours of semi-structured interviews, 20 hours of participant observations, over 150 pages of reflexive journals and field notes, and a 2-hour focus group. The team conducted constant comparison qualitative analysis using NVivo software and an inductive coding procedure. The four researchers each read the data several times until they were able to chunk it into broad categories about communication and social influences. The team compared the various categories they developed, selecting ones that were consistent among researchers and redefining categories that differed. Continuing to use open inductive coding, the research team refined the categories until they were able to develop distinct themes. Two team members developed each theme through a process of independent coding, comparison, discussion, and resolution. The research team developed three themes: 1) early medical needs provided time for the parents to explore various communication options for their Deaf-Disabled child, 2) without intervention from medical professionals or educators, ASL emerged as a prioritized mode of communication for the family, 3) atypical gender roles affected familial communication dynamics. While managing the significant health issues of their Deaf-Disabled child at birth, families and medical professionals were so fixated on tending to the medical needs of the child that the typical pressures of determining a mode of communication were deprioritized. This allowed the families to meticulously research various methods of communication, resulting in an informed, rational, and well-considered decision to use ASL as the primary mode of communication with their Deaf-Disabled child. It was evident that having a Deaf-Disabled child meant an increased amount of labor and responsibilities for parents. This led to a shift in the roles of the family members. During the child’s development, the mother transformed from fulfilling the stereotypical roles of nurturer and administrator to that of administrator and champion. The mother facilitated medical proceedings and educational arrangements while the father became the caretaker and nurturer of their Deaf-Disabled child in addition to the traditional role of earning the family’s primary income. Ultimately, this research led to a deeper understanding of the critical role that time plays in parents’ decision-making process regarding communication methods with their Deaf-Disabled child.

Keywords: Sociolinguistics, ethnography, American sign language, deaf-disabled

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1 Socioeconomic Status and Gender Influence on Linguistic Change: A Case Study on Language Competence and Confidence of Multilingual Minority Language Speakers

Authors: Stefanie Siebenhütter


Male and female speakers use language differently and with varying confidence levels. This paper contrasts gendered differences in language use with socioeconomic status and age factors. It specifically examines how Kui minority language use and competence are conditioned by the variable of gender and discusses potential reasons for this variation by examining gendered language awareness and sociolinguistic attitudes. Moreover, it discusses whether women in Kui society function as 'leaders of linguistic change', as represented in Labov’s sociolinguistic model. It discusses whether societal role expectations in collectivistic cultures influence the model of linguistic change. The findings reveal current Kui speaking preferences and give predictions on the prospective language use, which is a stable situation of multilingualism because the current Kui speakers will socialize and teach the prospective Kui speakers in the near future. It further confirms that Lao is losing importance in Kui speaker’s (female’s) daily life.

Keywords: Social Networks, Gender, language change, Sociolinguistics, Multilingualism, Minority Language, identity construction

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