[lg policy] asymmetric bilingual interactions

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 23 16:24:03 UTC 2011


I'm forwarding this to our list from the linganth listserv--there's
been a thread
discussing what you call it when speaker A speaks to speaker B in A-ish,
and B responds in B-ish.  VArious people have suggested various terms for
this. If you can't see all the postings on this thread, I can try to
find the archive
for this server and pass them along.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alejandro Paz <alejandro.paz at utoronto.ca>
Date: Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: [LINGANTH] bilingual interactions
To: LINGANTH at listserv.linguistlist.org


I agree that this is a very interesting thread, with several good
examples. The one thing I would add is it's important to specify what
kind of boundary the participants understand themselves to be talking
over, when deciding on a term (accomodation, asymmetric bilingualism,
etc). That is, the communication pattern described by Rudi is very
common inter-generationally among immigrant families (e.g., children
speak English, parents answer in Spanish or other), which is very
different than the peace-keepers described by Nancy, or from Jean
Jackson's example from the Vaupes (I believe there was such bilingual
communication in her description, perhaps I'm mis-remembering; that's
in Bauman and Sherzer's volume "Explorations in the Ethnography of
Speaking" from 1974, and there's a follow-up somewhere from the

The other point to keep in mind is that in a stable situation, the
varieties generally converge in many ways that participants aren't
necessarily aware of, even if they hold these varieties to be distinct
"languages." How the varieties are maintained distinct, and
enregistered as emblems, is linked in some sense to the kind of
boundary that is being signaled.


(U of Toronto)

On 22/08/2011 11:14 PM, Liz Coville wrote:
> Hi all,
> I loved this thread, both the messages about definitions and sources and the
> examples (like Nancy's from UN in East Timor).  I'm reading it in a warnet
> in upland Indonesia after spending time in a village.  Thinking about these
> multiple repertoires from a non-monoglot-oriented perspective is really
> fruitful, both in the village (influenced by labor migration) and in town
> (influenced by tourism, especially European).  Thanks to all for the little
> gems of internet-mediated wisdom.
> Liz Coville
> Dept Sociology&  Anthropology
> Carleton College


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com


This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
To manage your subscription unsubscribe, or arrange digest format: https://groups.sas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/lgpolicy-list

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list