Tag Archives: Sociolinguistics

Conference: UIC Bilingualism Forum

We are proud to announce the 2011 UIC Bilingualism Forum, to be held here at the University of Illinois at Chicago, April 14-15.

The UIC Bilingualism Forum is dedicated to research in any area related to bilingualism: theoretical linguistics, codeswitching, SLA, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics, cognitive sciences, heritage acquisition, bilingual acquisition, etc. Presentations will be 20 minutes each with 10 minutes for discussion.

Keynote Speakers

  • Marcel den Dikken, City University of New York
  • Michael Ullman, Georgetown University

Call For Papers

  • Deadline for submission of abstract: 12/1/2010
  • Acceptance response by: 1/15/2011
  • 2 page anonymous abstract including examples and references
  • 1 separate page with name, title, and affiliation
  • Abstract should be submitted via Linguist List

UIC TiL: Kim Potowski

This Friday, April 9th, UIC’s very own Kim Potowski will be presenting a talk entitled, “Intrafamilial dialect contact: The Spanish of MexiRicans in Chicago.”

Join us at 3 PM in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60607) for the talk and as usual light refreshments will be provided.

Kim Potowski (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Intrafamilial dialect contact: The Spanish of MexiRicans in Chicago

When speakers of different dialects share social space, interact frequently, and wish to gain each other’s approval or show solidarity, there exists the very strong possibility that they will adopt features from each other’s dialect. This process is known as accommodation, and when individual accommodations spread through a speech community over a long term, a common result is dialect mixing. Dialect mixing has received considerable attention in English (Trudgill 1986; Schneider 2003; Bauer 1994; Kerswill 2002) and in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world. However, there is a gap in our knowledge of Spanish dialect contact in the United States, which at approximately 30 million speakers is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation and the most dialectally diverse.

In addition, there is an increasingly common and particularly interesting case of Spanish dialect contact in the U.S.: What does a child’s Spanish look like when members of two different ethnolinguistic groups – a Mexican and a Puerto Rican, for example – marry and each speak their own Spanish dialect in the home? This situation, referred to as intrafamilial dialect contact, falls within Hazen’s (2002) call for research on the family as an intermediate grouping between the individual and the speech community. I will present a brief summary of general principles of dialect contact before examining studies of Spanish dialect contact in the U.S. and then focusing on cases of intrafamilial dialect contact in Chicago.

UIC TiL: Xuehua Xiang

Tomorrow, October 30th, we’re having another UIC Talk in Linguistics.  This week we have the privilege of presenting another of UIC’s own linguistics, Xuehua Xiang.  The talk, entitled “Linguistic Representation of ‘Self’ and Narrative Co-Construction: A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Celebrity Interviews in American English and Mandarin Chinese” will take place in 1750 University Hall from 3 to 5, with light refreshments provided.


Drawing on 600-minutes of TV/radio interviews featuring celebrity guests, broadcast in Mandarin Chinese in China and American English in the U.S., respectively, this paper is a comparative discourse analysis of the interview as a form of narrative co-construction, as situated within the two cultures.

A preliminary analysis of six Mandarin interviews and six English interviews suggests that English speakers assume a parallel “you” vs.”I” dynamic in co-constructing the interviewee’s personal narrative; English interviewers tend to propel the narrative through mechanisms of A-Event and B-Event (Labov, 1972), i.e., the interviewer shares personal experience and/or reveals personal knowledge about the interviewee, which in effect elicits the interviewee’s autobiographical account. In contrast, the Mandarin interviews manifest a triangular structure whereby the interviewer assumes a mediating role between public consciousness and the
interviewee (cf. Xiang, 2003), i.e., the interviewer highlights the general public’s knowledge gaps, and frames the interviewee’s upcoming narration as being different from, and corrective of, public knowledge. Particularly, both the interviewer and interviewee in the Chinese data highlight the conflict between the interviewee as a social individual (e.g. wo ‘I’, ni ‘you’) and the interviewee as “private” self (e.g. wo/ni ziji “I myself” “you yourself”‘). This duality in the linguistic construction of “self” is not obvious in the English data. Continue reading

Spanglish o Ingañol?

Generally, when we see discussion of English-Spanish code-switching, the discussion itself is often times in English.  Evidence of this can be seen in the colloquial name for this phenomenon:  Spanglish. 

Since code-switching is the meeting of two languages, there should obviously be two discussions–one in each language.  Check out this article from El Mundo, one of Spain’s newspapers, which discusses it from the Spanish language point of view.  At one point they even use a different name for it:  ingañol.


UIC TiL: Shahrzad Mahootian

Shahrzad Mahootian of Northeastern Illinois University will be presenting this Friday at UIC Talks in Linguistics.  The talk will take place in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan Street) from 2-3.


The Medium and the Message: Codeswitching in written discourse

“I am always the other but I get to choose my identity depending on context”

(Guillermo Gomez-Pena, 1993)

“Are you an independent *chica *or a cling-on?” (Latina 2001)
A variety of reasons and explanations have been put forth for why bilinguals codeswitch. Nearly all the data  considered has come from spoken, unscripted discourse, with very little attention paid to written texts.  Using data
from a variety of sources, I examine the motivations behind codeswitching in written texts. I employ Fairclough’s discourse model  (1995) in which he proposes a three dimensional approach for critical discourse analysis. The model is based on the interrelationship between *text, discourse practice * and* sociocultural practice*. He claims  that “social-identity struggles” are worked out through “new configurations of genres and discourse” (pg 8). An analysis of the “texture” (form, organization and content) of code mixing in written texts leads me to conclude that* *the use of mixed language is one *discourse practice* through which a ‘bicultural identity’ is defined and promoted (*sociocultural practice*). Specifically, the intentional use of mixed code in printed media serves as an identity marker for the bilingual speech community associated with this data (Mahootian 2005). The use of mixed code in the context of a national publication for example, such as *Latina*, is one way that the social-identity struggles of Latinos in the United States are expressed, and to a certain extent, resolved.

UIC Bilingualism Forum Update

The submission date for the UIC Bilingualism Forum has been changed to February 9th.

The University of Illinois at Chicago, April 30 & May 1, 2009


The UIC Bilingualism Forum is dedicated to research in any area related to
bilingualism: Theoretical Linguistics, Codeswitching, SLA,
Psycholinguistics, Language Policies, Sociolinguistics, Neurolinguistics,
Cognitive Sciences, etc. Student presentations are especially encouraged.
Presentations will be 20 minutes each with 10 minutes for discussion.

Deadline for submission: 02/09/2009
Acceptance response in February 2009

Conference Announcements, Part 1

The UIC department of Spanish French Italian and Portuguese is hosting a Bilinguilism Forum in the spring. The call for abstracts went out earlier this month for the forum which is to be held on April 30th & May 1st at the Institute for the Humanities located in Stevenson Hall.

The Bilinguilism Forum will consist of three sections–Theoretical Bilingualism, Heritage Learner/Sociolingusitic Study, and Second Language Acquisition–with keynote speakers as yet to be officially announced.  The deadline for abstract submission is January 31st.