English and Ethnicity

Dan Goodman dsgood at VISI.COM
Mon Sep 23 06:54:58 UTC 2002

> Such a position problematizes certain key notions: the notion of
> identity must be conceptualized as complex, multifaceted, and socially
> constructed through a process of situated interpretation; the notion
> of ethnicity must be conceptualized as both subsuming and transcending
> earlier notions of "race" as well as including a wide range of
> perceptions of relevant cultural background; English itself must be
> conceptualized not as a monolithic linguistic entity with one
> "standard" form, but as a highly complex linguistic construct with
> spoken and written forms, and a wide range of dialectal variation that
> can be conveyed through shifts at all levels of linguistic
> organization (prosodic, phonological, lexical, morpho/syntactic,
> pragmatic, discoursal).

Is this variety of English used to signal an identity?

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