Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Language and Societies abstracts, vol. 3 (Spring 2011)

The abstracts below are summaries of papers by junior scholars from the 2011 edition of my course, Language and Societies. The authors are undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology and linguistics at Wayne State University. Over the next few weeks, some students will be posting links to PDF versions of their final papers below their abstracts. Comments and questions are extremely welcome, especially at this critical juncture over the next week, when the authors are making final revisions to their papers.

Marius Sidau
A Linguistic Approach to the Authorship of the Book of Mormon

Brent Collins III
An investigation of contributing factors that lead to social fragmentation between Black-Americans, Africans, Caribbeans and West Indians

Jean Calkins
African American Vernacular English in the Classroom

Jacqui
The cultural and linguistic relevance of naming practices

Isra El-beshir
Women’s Language and its Legal Implications

Ashley Phifer
Eskimo or Inuit: What ethnonym do museums use in displaying art and material culture?

Lauren Schleicher
Physicians’ use of persuasive techniques as a verbal tool to increase colorectal cancer screening adherence

Jennifer Meyer
The Antonine Plague: A Linguistic Analysis

Molly Hilton
Thick: Social Censorship in an Empathetic Online Community

Daniel Harrison
From sauvage to salvage: a quantitative analysis of European-Algonkian vocabularies from contact to the mid-19th century

E.J. Stone
The Power of Rumor: Blood Libel in the Modern World

Amy C. Krull
From Grits to Corn Chips: An Invention of Tradition

Zein Kalaj
The historical, linguistic, and social stigma of leadership titles

Sofía Syntaxx
Live by the drum: exploring linguistic expressions of pan-Indian ethnic identity in contemporary indigenous music

Rachel Doyle
Gesture: An Integral Component of Language Acquisition and Learning

Krystal Athena Hubbard
Rice and Gullah: Linguistic Resistance and Economic Growth on Antebellum South Carolina Rice Plantations

Summar Saad
The Changing Linguistics of the Organic Food Market

Yasmin Habib
Code-switching among Arab-American speakers

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April 16, 2011 Posted by | Editor | Leave a comment

A Linguistic Approach to the Authorship of the Book of Mormon

A Linguistic Approach to the Authorship of the Book of Mormon

Marius Sidau

Mormonism is founded on the Book of Mormon. The architect of the Mormon faith, Joseph Smith Jr., claimed that the Book of Mormon is a divinely inspired text written in “Reformed Egyptian” by ancient prophets, which he translated into English. Disputes among Smith’s contemporaries concerning the authorship of the Book of Mormon began with its 1830 printing, and this issue has extended into modern academia. Some have argued that the Book of Mormon is not an ancient text but rather that Smith authored it. Both detractors and promoters of Smith’s role as translator have used linguistic methods to analyze this text. Promoters including Parry and Tvedtnes claim to have discovered linguistic features such as chiasmus, and similarities to Egyptian and Hebrew that Smith was unlikely to have known about. Detractors including Persuitte and Jockers et al argue that the promoters’ evidence is based on conjectural hypothesis and Mormon oral tradition, and that anachronisms in the text indicate a 19th century origin.

Following a review of both sides of the literature, this study shows how modern linguistic evidence has been used in the dispute over the Book of Mormon’s authorship. Taking the skeptic’s position that it is a 19th century production, linguistic anthropological theory is applied to show how the text answered metalinguistic expectations of Smith’s contemporaries. W. F. Hanks’ framework provides an innovative approach to the authorship question. This study found substantial evidence that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century text. Further research using a comparative approach to other early-19th century American religious texts could provide additional insight into the Book of Mormon’s authorship.

Keywords: Book of Mormon, chiasmus, anachronisms, authorship, metalanguage, Joseph Smith, “Reformed Egyptian”

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 7 Comments

An investigation of contributing factors that lead to social fragmentation between Black-Americans, Africans, Caribbeans and West Indians

An investigation of contributing factors that lead to social fragmentation between Black-Americans, Africans, Caribbeans and West Indians

Brent Collins III

The purpose of this paper is to provide an investigative approach to the social structure, environments, and interactions of four different ethnic backgrounds of the Black race: Blacks from America, Africa, the Caribbean, and West Indies. In addition, it serves as an insight to their highly diverse and ethnic background and the different social environments and interactions between one other within the United States. Lastly, it will reveal conflicts such as culture, identity, social class, and history within each ethnic background that often cause barriers of interaction, giving rise to separation and tolerance rather than unity.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | Leave a comment

African American Vernacular English in the Classroom

African American Vernacular English in the Classroom

Jean Calkins

This paper uses linguistic information and anthropological methodology to discuss African American Vernacular English, a dialect of English spoken by many African American students in U.S. schools, and White teachers’ knowledge about this form of English. This work seeks to explore what White teachers know and think is true about AAVE, and to what degree their ideas align with the current research on this dialect’s features, its history, and recommended classroom methods. Teacher attitudes are of secondary importance, as this article is mainly focused on their knowledge, rather than attitudes. Metro Detroit area teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools were interviewed about their knowledge pertaining to these topics, and their responses were compared to current academic literature and educational handbooks to see if they matched or differed, and in what areas. Based on the teachers’ responses, it can be assumed that teachers are not aware of most of the research and findings about AAVE, since most of them did not mention many of AAVE’s features, any of its history, or most best practices for teaching these speakers. This ignorance about the dialect could contribute to negative teacher attitudes about it. The participants also all stated that they had learned nothing or very little in college to prepare them for teaching students who speak this dialect, suggesting that teacher education programs are not equipping their students with this knowledge or stressing the importance of obtaining it. This is an area in which further research might explain these teachers’ lack of knowledge.

Keywords: African American Vernacular English, Ebonics, Teacher knowledge, Teacher education, Classroom dialects, Education

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | Leave a comment

The cultural and linguistic relevance of naming practices

The cultural and linguistic relevance of naming practices

Jacqui

The category of proper nouns comprised of names is a linguistic and cultural universal. The connection between nouns and names is so deep that, in some languages, the two words are synonymous. In a survey of naming practices in genetically and geographically diverse languages and associated cultures, all groups used names, though the origin, function, meaning, number, and form of names varied dramatically. A correlation between type of name or name order was not established with any linguistic variable, and a hypothesized pattern in name order between Western versus Eastern cultures could not be found. The only consistency was the presence of one or more personal names. The Western notion of a name as a semantically void label leads to a metalinguistic expectation that names will look and function similarly in other societies. This study establishes the erroneous nature of such an expectation, specifically, with the cross-culturally uncommon dominance of surnames in Western naming tradition. In many cultures, surnames not only failed to provide information about the genealogical or ethnic origin of the person, but were unimportant or nonexistent. Naming practices reviewed included traditions so varied as taboos against speaking a person’s name, instead using kinship terms, honorifics, or titles as a means of address and reference. This study revisits the philosophical question of defining a name, and invites further research in the areas of inherited surname practices and the connections between culture, location, language, and naming.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 4 Comments

Women’s Language and its Legal Implications

Women’s Language and its Legal Implications

Isra El-beshir

Linguistic analysis of female speech styles is a relatively new area of sociolinguistic research. Robin Lakoff in her 1976 influential book, Language and Women’s Place pioneered the focus on female speech patterns and gender differences. Her theories established a forum for further research in this area, which have been revised and expanded since. In this literature review, theories of gender differences by John Conoley, William O’Barr, Jennifer Coates, Susan Ehrlich, and others have established a clear grounding for an understanding of women’s language and the possible implications it may have on hearer perceptions.

This paper builds on the existing findings by the sociolinguists mentioned and takes their theories a step further with regard to social psychology and legal issues. The paper investigates the linguistic dynamics of courtroom proceedings and whether women’s speech style influences the determination of innocence or guilt when giving testimony in the American judicial system. Due to the wide variety of interactions between law and language, this paper examines linguistic structures and lexical features used by women in courtroom discourse and whether the spoken language by women, without regard to factual evidence, during a testimony would influence juror perceptions. On the basis of previous empirical analysis of speech patterns in court trials, the frequency levels of linguistic features such as intensifiers, hedges, hesitation, and intonations, identified speech styles as “powerless” and “powerful” characterized by men and women. This paper takes into consideration the emotional state of women in trauma settings, existing gender bias, socially based ideologies of gender, and the historical patriarchy in law in its analysis.

The method used to examine this research question was an intensive literature review of research by feminists and sociolinguists from the late 1970s to the present. The investigation found variable differences in the language used by men and women that may alter juror perceptions of the witness’s testimony. The results are discussed with regard to possible relations between speech style, powerful-powerless styles, hearer perceptions, and persuasive processes. These findings proved that the linguistic practices of the law fundamentally perpetuate the patriarchal values that have existed historically in the legal arena and in society, thereby altering juror perceptions and ultimately impacting the outcome of the verdict.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 1 Comment

Eskimo or Inuit: What ethnonym do museums use in displaying art and material culture?

Eskimo or Inuit: What ethnonym do museums use in displaying art and material culture?

Ashley Phifer

The ethnonyms Eskimo and Inuit are often times misunderstood and misrepresented. This misrepresentation also occurs in museum settings which raise issues dealing with repatriation, NAGPRA and ethnic labeling. Literary review on the ethnonyms Eskimo and Inuit was performed. Ten museums in the southern peninsula of Michigan were surveyed in terms of display labels and classification of Eskimo and Inuit art and material culture housed in their respective museum collections. Survey results showed that a majority of positively responding institutions classify art and material culture of Arctic indigenous people using the term Inuit. Further results showed that many reporting museums do not have collections policies that allow the museum to decipher between Eskimo and Inuit. This research is intended to shed light on an unrecognized issue in museums in the United States that can have cultural, societal, representational, and even legal issues.

Keywords: museum, Eskimo, Inuit, label, ethnonym, plate

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 3 Comments

Physicians’ use of persuasive techniques as a verbal tool to increase colorectal cancer screening adherence

Physicians’ use of persuasive techniques as a verbal tool to increase colorectal cancer screening adherence

Lauren Schleicher

In the twentieth century healthcare providers have shifted their focus from acute patient care to prevention and health maintenance counseling. Consequently, physicians have been increasingly required to be better health communicators as the demand for health promotion continues to grow. And yet, patients, as medical consumers, often choose not to comply with their doctor’s expert medical advice, resulting in low screening adherence rates. Screening rates for colorectal cancer, by means of colonoscopy, have been markedly low across the United States. Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in America affecting 130,200 men and women annually and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths nationally. However, when the cancer is discovered early and treated there is a 90% survival rate.

Given the devastating nature of this disease, this paper attempts to understand how physicians communicate to their patients the importance of screening tests like colonoscopy with a focus specifically on physician’s use of persuasive techniques, a type of social influence intended to strengthen, build or even alter patients’ beliefs or concerns. The ultimate goal was to determine whether or not persuasion was an effective tool for increasing colonoscopy screening adherence.

Thirty-nine primary care transcripts were conveniently sampled and coded. The Siminoff Communication Content and Affect Program, or SCCAP, was chosen as the model for this investigation because this model is specifically designed to capture social influence in healthcare settings. Using the SCCAP model to code for persuasion types, two patient populations were identified-19 cases where persuasion was present and 20 cases where persuasion was not present. Cases where the use of persuasion was unnecessary were omitted; meaning, the patient had either been screened prior to their visit, or verbally consented to be screened without hesitation. This study found that patients who were not subjected to a persuasive attempt by their physician were more likely to adhere to a colonoscopy recommendation. 89% of patients who were not persuaded were adherent, whereas, only 68% of patients who were persuaded were adherent. The results of this study seem to suggest that persuasive techniques are at best irrelevant, and at worst, possibly detrimental to colorectal cancer screening adherence.

It is not surprising that physicians would try to persuade their patients to undergo screening given the devastating nature of colorectal cancer and how preventable this disease has become with the advent of technologies like colonoscopy. Persuasion is a predictable response to perceived reluctance. But, unfortunately, screening rates remain too low and physicians need to be equipped with more effective communication skills as persuasion does not seem to consistently have the desired effect.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 2 Comments

The Antonine Plague: A Linguistic Analysis

The Antonine Plague: A Linguistic Analysis

Jennifer Meyer

Most classical scholarship has hinged on strict philological analysis of Greek and Latin texts. This essay is unique in that it steps away from such an approach and instead focuses on what our Classical sources have to say about the power of language. By applying theories developed by Briggs/Mantini-Briggs and Pierre Bourdieu, this essay investigates the primary sources on the Antonine Plague. The linguistic elements presented in the available ancient sources show us that the language used to describe this plague articulated relations of power, social structure and class, and that there is much more information expressed in these works than simply a catalogue of symptoms and words to be defined, as previous scholars have focused on. By closely examining these primary sources this essay illustrates that there is a plethora of information that can be gleaned by a linguistic analysis about the Antonine Plague, and that the works describing this epidemic disease in fact bear the traces of social structure and the unequal weight of words.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 3 Comments

Thick: Social Censorship in an Empathetic Online Community

Thick: Social Censorship in an Empathetic Online Community

Molly Hilton

Giving “voice” to marginalized populations has become an influential theme in contemporary anthropological literature. In this paper I assert that the opposition to voice, “silence” is equally as important, though not as thoroughly studied. The silences that represent taboo topics of discourse and the methods by which topics are constrained, or silenced, reveal inequities of power and the normalizing effect of social censorship. Public discourse regarding personal weight is conducted only within highly-scripted, socially-censored boundaries. Euphemisms, coded-talk such as “thick” and “big” perpetuate the authority of the thin ideal. The question is, what talk is acceptable within an empathetic, online community self-described as devoted to conversation about weight and how do they enforce those boundaries? Drawing from the discourse of the Weight Watchers online community, this paper examines taboos and topic boundaries and the means by which the community socially censors discourse. An alternative boundary emerges that removes the physical body from conversation and privileges the self-help, self-management themes of Weight Watchers. The tone of discourse shifts to empathetic and positive language with distinct acceptable forms including narrative, confessional, self-talk and one unacceptable form, dependent.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 3 Comments

From sauvage to salvage: a quantitative analysis of European-Algonkian vocabularies from contact to the mid-19th century

From sauvage to salvage: a quantitative analysis of European-Algonkian vocabularies from contact to the mid-19th century

Daniel Harrison

Word lists, or vocabularies, are a staple feature of accounts of encounters with Native Americans from the initial contact period through the mid-19th century. The author posits that the choice of words by the European, and later American compilers of these brief, early vocabularies should reveal their needs, priorities, and agendas. An examination of twelve vocabularies from the Algonkian languages of the Great Lakes region reveals patterns of word choice that point to four archetypal identities: explorer, trader, missionary, and philologist. A quantitative analysis of the vocabularies allows the observation of a shift in the prevalence of these identities over time. The results are then related to the scholarly literature of lingua francas and salvage linguistics. The study concludes with a brief consideration of the possible applications of the survey methodology to the study of indigenous narratives, and the role of present-day dictionary compilers in the revitalization of indigenous languages.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 2 Comments

The Power of Rumor: Blood Libel in the Modern World

The Power of Rumor: Blood Libel in the Modern World

E.J. Stone

An exploration into how the life of rumor can impact its perceived validity. This paper gives a brief overview of the history of “blood libel” starting from the Middle Ages moving into the modern era. The focus is on a modern case, which occurred in 1983 in the West Bank, described by Raphael Israeli in his book “Poison: Modern Manifestations of a Blood Libel”. This essay undertakes analysis of media reactions, investigation into the accusations, and determining the believability of the rumor.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 1 Comment

From Grits to Corn Chips: An Invention of Tradition

From Grits to Corn Chips: An Invention of Tradition

Amy C. Krull

This work explores the symbolic and linguistic significance of the term stone ground when used in the labeling of industrially and locally processed foods. Through comparative analyses of food labels, and engaging in the metadiscourse surrounding the words stone ground, the term is found ambiguous in both meaning and use. Favored by marketers for its flexibility, the words stone ground when found on food labels are doing more than describing a quality possessed by the product, they are indexing tradition.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 1 Comment

The historical, linguistic, and social stigma of leadership titles

The historical, linguistic, and social stigma of leadership titles

Zein Kalaj

Words are not immune to change. Semantic change is an evolutionary process in which a word loses its original meaning and acquires a new meaning in its modern usage. This paper seeks to investigate how and why leadership titles undergo such a change.
The titles of leaders are more than just ways of labeling those who have power and authority; they are also methods of identification and association. Likewise, authority figures can be often identified with a single term or phrase. Known as antonomasia, this occurs when a title or epithet is used in lieu of a person’s real name. Using the examples of Führer and Czar, this article examines, not only how these titles came to symbolize the leaders that they referred to, but, also, how these titles have developed negative and pejorative connotations.

In order to explain why Führer and Czar have gone from epithets of power and glory to labels of stigma and disgrace, this paper refers to previous literature for the purpose of gaining insight into what may have caused Führer and Czar to undergo a semantic shift. Moreover, the etymologies of Führer and Czar, as well as the history of the people to whom these words refer, are studied in order to better understand why these leadership titles are viewed in a negative light in modern times. The findings of this paper reveal that titles that were once associated with power are now used in weaker ways. While Führer and Czar maintain their original meaning in their respective languages, as loanwords in English, they have been reduced to sources of irony.

Keywords: Semantic change, Antonomasia, Führer, Czar

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 4 Comments

Live by the drum: exploring linguistic expressions of pan-Indian ethnic identity in contemporary indigenous music

Live by the drum: exploring linguistic expressions of pan-Indian ethnic identity in contemporary indigenous music

Sofía Syntaxx

Many issues and elements—including ethnic nomenclature, racial attitudes, and the legal and political status of American Indian nations and the First Nations tribes of Canada —influence the identity of these indigenous peoples in contemporary society. Identity and culture are two of the basic building blocks of ethnicity. Through the construction of identity and culture, individuals and groups attempt to address the problems surrounding ethnic boundaries and meaning. My research examines the use of a unique linguistic phenomenon I describe as code-calling, in parallel with the idea of code-switching, used to describe the alternating use of two or more languages by bilingual speakers. I use the term code-calling to describe when contemporary Native American/First Nations artists (who perform predominantly in English) use specific words or phrases spoken in their ancestral indigenous languages as a source of identity, particularly pan-Indian identity. In examining contemporary Native American/First Nations music, I have integrated Western scholarship with Native understanding to illustrate the fault-lines between reservation / rural and urban tribal musical knowledge.

I propose that indigenous artists “code-call” to their listeners through the inclusion of ancestral Native American/First Nations languages in what would otherwise be an English or French only performance piece. The assumption is that the listener will in all likelihood not speak or understand the indigenous language, but the act of using the ancestral language in place of one of Eurocentric origin is a powerful form of resistance against assimilation of indigenous peoples into the mainstream culture. Code-calling also acts as an affirmation of Pan-Indian identity. As modern indigenous communities are attempting to revitalize their ancestral languages, it is important to look at these revitalization efforts in context. I propose that code-calling derives its meaning from phonological, pragmatic and syntactical structure, as well as the relationships between speaker and listener. Knowledge of an ancestral language and cultural traditions are being increasingly combined as a force in indigenous ethnic identity struggles, as well as how this reality informs the challenges of building solidarity within broader indigenous socio-political movements. This paper explores these complex relationships, as well as the construction of Pan-Indian identity through the use of code-calling in contemporary indigenous music.

Keywords: music, code-switching, code-calling, Native American, First Nations

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 1 Comment

Gesture: An Integral Component of Language Acquisition and Learning

Gesture: An Integral Component of Language Acquisition and Learning

Rachel Doyle

Children in their infancy may be incapable of speaking, but they are not incapable of communication. Gesture is a means with which children begin to interact and communicate with their world. It is also how adults can communicate and interact with pre-verbal children. These interactions, these gestures, are not only a tool with which adults and children facilitate communication, but it is also an integral part of language development and the learning process in children. A review of research in anthropology, linguistics, and cognitive studies reveals that gesture and language have a relationship that is not trivial, but in fact vitally intertwined. The development of gesture use for communication occurs before children develop the ability to communicate via speech, then these two aspects of communication continue to develop and work together as two parts of one process. Research with non-human primates further illustrates the development of gesture as a vital aspect of communication. Since non-human primates do not have verbal speech, it is possible to observe the development of gestural communication between primates without the element of speech development overpowering it. An overview of the studies done in relation to gesture, communication, and language development shows that the gestures that accompany speech are a critical component in communication and that as such, gesture plays a role in how developing children learn and interact with their world.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | Leave a comment

Rice and Gullah: Linguistic Resistance and Economic Growth on Antebellum South Carolina Rice Plantations

Rice and Gullah: Linguistic Resistance and Economic Growth on Antebellum South Carolina Rice Plantations

Krystal Athena Hubbard

This paper examines how the Gullah language can be viewed as a form of linguistic resistance through the diffusion of rice cultivating knowledge and techniques and the inundation of West African slaves from the Windward Coast. Gullah is a creole language hybrid of English and various West African languages spoken by field slaves of South Carolina rice plantations. Gullah was a means of breaking down language barriers and creating a common language medium that retained Africanisms of the various languages spoken along the Windward Coast. This was a way to retain cultural identity while maneuvering through enslavement. Rice, as a cash crop, was introduced in the late 17th century but did not become successful until West African slaves cultivated rice in South Carolina using the Inland and Tidal swamp techniques used in Africa. The rice cultivators from West Africa were successful in cultivating rice because the micro-environments of West Africa and South Carolina were very similar. At the height of rice cultivation, in the early 19th century, rice from South Carolina was shipped to other parts of America and Europe for consumption. Comparing the other rice plantations in North Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida, South Carolina supplied two-thirds of the rice shipped nationally and abroad. When slavery was abolished in 1865, the rice economy drastically declined as slaves left the rice plantations, unlike cotton and tobacco which declined at a much slower rate. The decline of rice cultivation in conjunction with the abolishment of slavery can be juxtaposed with the rapid growth of rice cultivation and the growth of slave labor on South Carolina rice plantations. Gullah survives today on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. While there is very little academic discourse on Gullah as a form of linguistic resistance, there is a need to investigate Gullah further from this perspective to better understand the input slaves had on the American economy.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 3 Comments

The Changing Linguistics of the Organic Food Market

The Changing Linguistics of the Organic Food Market

Summar Saad

Language continually plays a huge role in marketing strategies of various products, organic food being no exception. With sales reaching $11 billion in 2003, the organic food movement has witnessed a growth, which is closely tied to the language of the label. From its roots in East Asian spirituality to its regulation by governments and agencies around the world, the term ‘organic’ has undergone various changes in meaning ultimately influencing how consumers perceive the label. This paper investigates the changes that have occurred in the linguistics of the organic food market before and after the expansion of the movement, as well as the conceptualization of the label.

Literature was reviewed to uncover the history of the organic definition and its meaning with respect to consumers, producers, and government standards. This was compared to definitions and standards of the ‘all-natural’ label, which is perceived as synonymous to ‘organic’ by consumers. A photo-database of organic labels was collected to analyze the language of the label and its contribution to consumer perceptions. The research found that many of the changes observed in the movement and organic label were influenced by political, economic, and organizational factors and reflect on how the label is perceived. Through the conceptualization of the farm as a living organism, the definition of ‘organic’ has undertaken various meanings with implications related to health, environment, and social consciousness. The term has little association with the semantic meaning and has come to be associated with the pragmatic meaning that includes principles such as sustainability, ‘natural’, and healthy, making it a very flexible mediating device and in turn, marketing strategy. Consequently, the label has been a source of confusion and mistrust; ultimately questioning the very foundation the organic movement was built upon.

Keywords: organic movement, organic label, linguistics

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | 2 Comments

Code-switching among Arab-American speakers

Code-switching among Arab-American speakers

Yasmin Habib

One of the most widely discussed language tendencies among bilingual and multilingual individuals is the process of code-switching. Code-switching is defined by the simultaneous use of more than one language with the same conversation. Questions of how, when, and why individuals are motivated to code-switch have dominated the literature in recent years. While several researchers have focused on code-switching to an English variety, others have concentrated on diglossic code-switching. Diglossia is characterized by use of more than one language variety within the same linguistic family. Thus, the present study investigates how, when, and why Egyptian-American bilinguals are motivated to code-switch with the English variety and the diglossic variety of modern standard Arabic (MSA).Through assessing previous literature, conducting interviews and observing linguistic tendencies, 10 Egyptian –Americans between the ages of 20-65 with a median time of 18.2 years spent in the United States were examined on the basis of code-switching. The findings suggest that individuals are more likely engage in English code-switch during informal communication and MSA code-switch during formal communication. Additionally, no grammatical violation occurred during switch process. Reasons as to why individuals were motivated to code-switch could not be reduced to one factor; rather an amalgamation of education, economic, political and cultural hegemonies played a role in switch tendency. To extend on the phenomenon of code-switching, future research should examine the role of gender communication, education, religious ideologies, and other factors directly impacting switch tendency.

Keywords: Code-switching; Diglossia; Egyptian-American; conversational communication; grammatical rules; cultural hegemony

April 16, 2011 Posted by | abstract | Leave a comment