Language, Identity and Urban Space

The Language Use of Latin American Migrants

by Tabea Salzmann (Author)
©2015 Thesis 368 Pages


Migration as a process has achieved increasing attention in the context of nation-states and globalisation. In linguistics the field of language contact is particularly associated with this phenomenon. This book investigates the connection between language usage, migration, space, in particular urban space, and the constitution of cultural identity. Two corpora of Andean migrants’ Spanish conversations in Lima and in Madrid are analysed. The resulting comparative analysis provides the material for considerations on language contact, code copying, discourse strategies etc. Throughout the book a new theoretical approach based on linguistic ecology is used. It includes the concept of a general expanded feature pool, which is the basis for language use and identity constitution for migrants.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents
  • I Conception of the Project
  • 1. Introduction
  • 1.1 The Issue at Hand: Linguistic Interaction in Situations of Migration in Urban Spaces
  • 1.2 Review of Literature
  • 1.3 Theoretical Considerations: the Linguistic Ecology Approach
  • 1.4 Methodology: a Corpus based Approach
  • 1.5 Implementation of Methodology and Theoretical Approach: The Main Parameters
  • 1.6 Contact
  • 1.7 Linguistic Parameters
  • 1.8 Structure
  • 2. Theoretical Basis
  • 2.1 Linguistic Ecology Approach: The Three Levels and their Interrelations
  • 2.1.1 The Three Level Model
  • 2.1.2 Migration as Nexus between the Three Levels
  • Interrelations in Space, Migratory Movements and Contact
  • 2.1.3 Identity as Nexus between the Three Levels
  • 2.1.4 Identity and Integration
  • 2.2 The Three Levels of the Linguistic Ecology Approach in Detail
  • 2.2.1 The Micro Level
  • Linguistic Interaction, Features and Utterances
  • 2.2.2 From the Micro to the Meso Level
  • Discourse Strategies and Feature Pools
  • Frequency, Markedness and Cognitive Salience
  • 2.2.3 The Meso Level
  • Language Contact, Copying and Varieties
  • Propagation and Linguistic Results
  • Perception and Attitudes
  • 2.2.4 From the Meso to the Macro Level
  • Norm
  • Urban Space, Social Networks and Migrants
  • 2.2.5 The Macro Level
  • Historical Influences and Collective Identities
  • II Analysis of the Spaces
  • 3. Lima
  • 3.1 The Meso Level: Society, Socio-Historic Setting and Identity
  • 3.1.1 Historical Lima
  • 3.1.2 Constitution and Development of the City of Lima
  • 3.1.3 Urbanisation, Centralisation, Population
  • 3.1.4 Political - Administrative and Economic Infrastructure
  • 3.2 Between Meso and Macro Level: Lima and Peru
  • 3.2.1 Collective Cultural Identity
  • 3.2.2 Cultural Memory
  • 3.2.3 Delimiting Structures
  • 3.3 The Micro Level: The Corpus
  • 3.3.1 Constitution of the Corpus
  • MINEDU (Ministry of Education):
  • Pachacutec:
  • Villa El Savador:
  • 3.3.2 The Analysis: Introduction
  • 3.3.3 Cognitive Aspects
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Salience and Awareness
  • Agreement
  • Agreement in Number
  • Special cases:
  • Agreement in gender
  • Pronouns
  • Loismo
  • Leismo
  • Constructions with se and double pronouns
  • Expressions with “se”
  • Impersonal “se”
  • Expressions with plain and first person doublets
  • Possession
  • TMA
  • Tense
  • Mode
  • Aspect
  • Prepositions
  • “Pure” prepositions (with certain verbs): en, a, de
  • Missing prepositions
  • “A” in verbal phrases
  • “A” in direct objects
  • Syntax
  • Reversing Word Order and Bracketing
  • Dislocation
  • Focus and Neutralization – reformulation and clarification
  • Other Constructions
  • Drop of the inflected verb
  • Adverbs
  • 3.3.4 Pragmatic – Discursive Aspects
  • Discourse Development and Suprasegmentals
  • Volume
  • Velocity of Speech
  • Intonation and Melody
  • Discourse Development and Discourse Particles
  • The Particle No
  • The Particle O sea
  • The Particle Entonces
  • The Particle Este
  • The Particle Mira
  • Repetitions
  • Self-repetition Plain Repetition
  • Stammering/Searching/Corrections
  • Automatism
  • Emphasis (1 word or more)
  • Focus and Neutralisation
  • Reformulation and Clarification
  • Word selection
  • “Chanting” Repetition
  • Expressive Repetition
  • “Story telling”
  • Other-Repetition
  • “Helping out” in word search
  • Clarification
  • (Re-)Affirmation or Recapitulation of contents: cognitive and discursive mechanism
  • (Re-)Affirmation or Recapitulation: Discursive Mechanism
  • Answering
  • Play
  • 3.3.5 Connectives and Text Structuring
  • Denomination
  • Incongruence
  • Simplification
  • Superfluous additions
  • Fill in
  • Insecurity
  • Negation
  • Clause connection
  • Stringing and Sequencing
  • Emphasis
  • Marking Speech Report and Imitation as Text Structuring
  • Type 1: Quotation or Impersonated Speech
  • Type 2: Imitation or Mimicry
  • Type 3: Imagined Possible Speech
  • Type 4: Reported Speech as Hearsay
  • 3.3.6 Situational – Social Aspects
  • Lexis
  • Labellings concerned with Types of Regions
  • Labellings concerned with SocioEeconomic and Racial Aspects
  • Labellings of Language
  • Labellings of Dance and Music
  • Labellings of Dress
  • Labellings of Functional Places
  • Forms of Address in the Verbal Phrase
  • 4. Madrid
  • 4.1 The Meso Level: Society, Socio-Historic Setting and Identity
  • 4.1.1 History of Madrid
  • 4.1.2 Urbanisation, Centralisation, Population
  • 4.1.3 Administration and Infrastructure in Madrid
  • 4.1.4 Distribution of Migrants in the Neighbourhoods of Madrid
  • 4.2 Between the Macro and the Meso Level: Spain and Madrid
  • 4.2.1 Migratory Movements between Latin America and Spain
  • 4.2.2 Remittances and Living Conditions
  • 4.2.3 Contacts before Migration
  • 4.2.4 Work and Economic Migration
  • 4.2.5 Return Migration
  • 4.2.6 Collective Cultural Identity of Migrants
  • Migrants’ Situation from their Own Perspective
  • Delimiting Structures
  • Ingroup Identities
  • Migrants’ Awareness of their Situation in General Society
  • 4.2.7 Culture and Integration in Madrid
  • Awareness for Migrants of the Receiving Society
  • Integration and Cultural Diversity
  • 4.3 The Micro Level: The Corpus
  • 4.3.1 Constitution of the Corpus
  • 4.3.2 The Analysis: Introduction
  • 4.3.3 Cognitive Aspects
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Agreement
  • Agreement in Number
  • Agreement in Gender
  • Pronouns
  • Loismo
  • Leismo
  • Constructions with Se and Double Pronouns
  • Possession
  • TMA
  • Tense
  • Mode
  • Aspect
  • Prepositions
  • Prepositions (with certain verbs): en, a de
  • Missing Prepositions
  • “A” in Direct Objects
  • Syntax
  • Reversing and Bracketing
  • Dislocation
  • Extension and Specification
  • Drop of the Inflected Verb
  • Adverbs
  • 4.3.4 Pragmatic – Discursive Aspects
  • Discourse Development and Suprasegmentals
  • Volume
  • Velocity of Speech
  • Intonation and Melody
  • Accents
  • Discourse Development and Discourse Particles
  • The Particle “No”
  • The Particle “O sea”
  • The Particle “Entonces”
  • The Particle “Este/esto”
  • The Particle “Mira”
  • The Particle “Verdad”
  • The Particle “Sabes (que)”
  • Repetitions
  • Self-repetition:
  • Plain Repetition
  • Stammering/Searching/Corrections
  • Exception: Automatism
  • Emphasis (1 word or more)
  • Focussing and Neutralisation
  • Reformulation and Clarification
  • Word Selection
  • “Chanting” Repetition
  • Summary
  • Other-Repetition:
  • Word Selection
  • Clarification
  • (Re-)Affirmation or Recapitulation of Contents: Cognitive and Discursive Mechanism
  • (Re-)Affirmation or Recapitulation: Discursive Mechanism
  • (Re-)Affirmation or Recapitulation: Semantic and Syntactic-Structural Mechanism
  • Gaining of Turn
  • Answering
  • Special Case: Playing with Content and Structure
  • 4.3.5 Connectives and Text Structuring
  • Denomination
  • Agreement
  • Simplification
  • Insertions
  • Superflous Additions
  • Fill-ins and Peculiarities
  • Insecurity
  • Negation
  • Clause Connection
  • Emphasis
  • Clarification
  • Change of Counterpart
  • Marking Speech Report and Imitation as Text Structuring
  • Type 1: Quotation or Impersonated Speech
  • Type 2: Imitation or Mimicry
  • Type 3: Imagined Possible Speech
  • Type 4: Reported Speech
  • 4.3.6 Situational – Social Aspects
  • Lexis
  • Avoiding Vocabulary
  • Labellings of Address
  • Abusive Terms
  • Labellings of Work
  • Food Terms
  • Labellings of Music, Dance and Festivities
  • Discourse Markers
  • Forms of Address in the Verbal Phrase
  • III Language Use and Communication in Comparison
  • 5. Comparative Analysis
  • 5.1 Cognitive Aspects
  • 5.1.1 Phonetics and Phonology
  • 5.1.2 Agreement
  • 5.1.3 Pronouns
  • 5.1.4 TMA
  • 5.1.5 Prepositions
  • 5.1.6 Syntax
  • 5.2 Pragmatic – Discursive Aspects
  • 5.2.1 Discourse Development and Suprasegmentals
  • 5.2.2 Discourse Development and Discourse Particles
  • 5.2.3 Repetitions
  • 5.3 Connectives and Text Structuring
  • 5.4 Situational – Social Aspects
  • 5.4.1 Lexis
  • 5.4.2 Forms of Address
  • 5.5 General Conclusive Comparison: an Expanded Feature Pool
  • 6. Interplay of the three Levels in Comparison
  • 6.1 Complexity, Mixture and Conventionalisation
  • 6.2 Koineization
  • 6.3 Code Copying
  • 6.4 Hybridisation of Language
  • 6.5 Discourse Strategies
  • 6.5.1 Structuring
  • 6.5.2 Emotive Speech
  • 6.5.3 Politeness and Affability
  • 6.5.4 Commitment and Involvement
  • 6.6 Language and Identity
  • 6.7 Identity’s/ies In-between and Hybridization
  • 6.8 The Complete Picture: Language Use, Feature Pool and Identity
  • 7. Summary and Perspectives
  • 7.1 Summary
  • 7.2 Perspectives
  • Bibliography

| 11 →

I Conception of the Project

| 13 →

1. Introduction

“En la interacción entre lo urbano y lo rural para mí es una vida cotidiana. Además este, esa relacióng no solamente es dinámica sino también es casi intercultural, porque yo sí valoro de lo que son de acá y son de allá. No estoy claro en los dos frentes, pero estoy aquí y estoy allá. Mejor dicho, si estoy en Lima hablo el castellano de Lima, si estoy a Ayacucho hablo el castellano de Ayacucho. O sea, he tratado de superar algunas bar:eras lingüísticas o sociolingüísticas.“

(In the interaction between the urban and the rural, for me it is an everyday life. Also, this relationship is not only dynamic, but also almost intercultural, because I do value those who are from here and from there. I am not clear on both fronts, but I am both here and there. Or better, if I am in Lima I talk the Spanish of Lima, if I am at Ayacucho I talk the Spanish of Ayacucho. So, I have tried to overcome some linguistic and sociolinguistic barriers.1)

This quotation from one of the persons recorded for this investigation brings us straight to the core of our subject matter: linguistic interaction of urban migrants in diverse spaces. The speaker is a professor from Ayacucho, and one of the better educated persons in the corpus. He describes very tangibly how he and many other migrants constitute their personal identity. Their manner of life and their linguistic interaction are formed in ever changing everyday situations. He constructs and conveys his identity according to each new encounter: he incorporates features derived from urban culture and rural culture, of a more mestizo and a more indigenous flavour, from being one of the people and one of the better educated, from different varieties of Spanish and even from Quechua. He does this not only by his choice of words; his use of language also speaks for itself in the way he chooses linguistic features of varied origin to represent the content on the surface level of language.

1.1 The Issue at Hand: Linguistic Interaction in Situations of Migration in Urban Spaces

My interest here is to analyse migrants’ language usage in diverse urban spaces to see specifically how language and communication work in interaction in these ← 13 | 14 → particular situations. The aim is to examine everyday informal migrant conversations in urban spaces more closely. This will show us just how language is used, so that we can then distinguish the mechanisms and discourse strategies migrants use to communicate meaning on various levels. The levels of meaning consist of, for example, the practical information given at the moment of speaking and references to the situation on various levels. More importantly, however, they also refer to the constitution of identity at the moment of communication, conveyed by their language usage.

Based on the hypothesis that language usage and communication reflect processes taking place in the formation of identity, I hope to investigate how migrants constitute their identities dynamically through linguistic interaction.

In both cases - that of linguistic interaction and that of identity formation - the hypothesis is that we are concerned with open dynamic processes. Therefore we cannot speak of self-contained entities which only come into peripheral contact. Rather the situations present themselves as complex nets of interrelations.

The exemplary case taken here is the Hispanophone world, more specifically migrants originating from the Andean region, now living in Lima and Madrid. Migrants’ language use and communication in migration situations involving Spanish linguistic interaction in these two spaces will be analysed and compared with regard to similarities and differences. This should ultimately give us information on the hypotheses posited above.

I intend to develop these hypotheses step by step, relating the theoretical approach applied to the actual spaces analysed.

Gumperz (1971, 220) stated as early as 1971:

“The basic position with respect to the coding of social information was stated by Hymes (1962), who asserts that both language and language usage are structured and suggests that it is language usage rather than grammatical categories per se which most closely reflect social influences. This implies that from the sociolinguistic point of view every utterance has both social and referential meaning.”

Language usage therefore tells us more about ties with factors found on levels above the microlevel of communication than pure grammar can. Gumperz states the connection between the context of linguistic interaction and social life very clearly. It is the task of the investigator to see how they work together.

Considered here are two groups of migrants from the same region of origin, the Andes, with different destinations in migration: Lima, as an example for Latin America and Madrid as its European counterpart. The aim is not to follow the lines of a traditional dialectologic or sociolinguistic approach. I do not intend to look at one specific group of migrants, consider their language usage in their current situation and compare the results with the language use of non-migrants in the same space or with that of non-migrants in the space of origin. This would give a description of current use of linguistic features, from which a traditional approach would then extract a description of, for example, an apparently stable variety, with influences from other varieties. Such an approach would postulate two or more ← 14 | 15 → separately existing varieties and compare them mostly on the grounds of differences in assumed stable grids of rules.

My interest, however, is in examining the specific effects of situational communication in heterogeneous situations of linguistic interaction. These include many different factors influencing the situation and the interaction, to which the interlocutors have to adjust each time anew. The assumption then, is that situational interaction is a combined process that develops through the way migrants choose and use the linguistic possibilities at hand, relying on specific influences delivered by the situation. The result is an open, dynamic process of language use and variation. In everyday linguistic interaction, varieties which are perceived as similar or very different typologically encounter each other. Such situations are typical for urban spaces, but they are difficult to isolate. Migrants per definition find themselves confronted with contact in all its forms and have to cope with communicative tasks that arise from these situations. But these are not tasks and situations that only migrants have to deal with. Nowadays they are also true for many other contexts. The migration context is a specific case in which such situations arise, due to highly varied contact situations arising from constant movement in diverse spaces. Analysis of language usage and communication in situations of migration in urban spaces, might then make it possible to derive knowledge for other heterogeneous situations of linguistic interaction. The first aim is to examine whether concepts and strategies in interaction that facilitate communication exist or develop and what these might be. Once these have been identified one could consider whether they can be generalized for situations outside the context of migration. In a second step, I intend to trace the manner in which these strategies are used to map out identity in communication.

An integral approach that takes into account all the necessary factors is required to answer both these questions. A consideration of the context in all its facets is of vital importance for the understanding of the linguistic interaction analysed.

1.2 Review of Literature

The task untertaken here has not been performed in extenso up to now. Many of the areas that form part of an integral, holistic approach in the field of linguistic ecology as understood here, are well explored in extensive literature. This will be demonstrated for example in the field of Latin American Spanish, especially that of the Andes, Spanish in Madrid, sociolinguistics, language contact for the spaces and varieties concerned here and for ecological approaches of linguistics, in order to place my work and the approach chosen in context and to show how this can produce new fruit in the area of linguistic ecology and Spanish dialectology.

Spanish in Latin America has been described as being part of traditional dialectology by such scholars as Kany (e.g. 1969), who gives a general account of the syntax of Latin American Spanish, or Fontanella de Weinberg (e.g. 1993), who undertakes a general review of Latin American Spanish and the standard literature ← 15 | 16 → in each field. These are, however, traditional approaches, similar to those of for example Moreno Fernández (2014), who writes a manual on Hispanic dialectology, or Alvar (1996) with a manual on Latin American dialectology. They remain purely descriptive of both regional norms and of recurrent phenomena in phonetics, phonology and morphosyntax, and lack a theoretical foundation or a corpus of field research on the basis of which the phenomena can be understood. Lipski on the other hand (e.g. 1994), is one of the scholars who researches Latin American Spanish widely, although he specialises in phonetic-phonological aspects. He also describes language contact in many of his articles, without however using a holistic approach to the object of investigation. A more strongly rooted approach can be found in de Granda, who describes the contact between Spanish and Quechua in the Andes from a historical point of view and develops a theoretical line of thought regarding standardisation and convergence (e.g. in de Granda 2002). This is a perspective that, while describing historical settings, tends towards socio-political aspects and remains on the macro level without following through to the actual linguistic interaction that takes place on the micro level with references to the meso level. Authors who have published work more specifically on Spanish in the Andean region, especially Peru, such as Escobar (1978) and Cerrón-Palomino (2003, 2000, 1994), also often pursue a traditional dialectological approach. Here the description of phonology plays the main role while other aspects of language (see e.g. Escobar 1978) are marginal. Escobar brings a sociolinguistic perspective to the fore, relating such phonetic-phonological phenomena to social class and Quechua-Spanish bilingualism. In this respect he also takes into account migrants and migration as a factor that influences language. The most extensive work in this field has been done by Cerrón-Palomino (e.g. 2003, 2000, 1994), who covers aspects of contact between Spanish, Quechua and Aymara, and writes generally about Andean Spanish taking, for example, word order and syntax into account, a definite improvement on (almost) purely phonetic-phonological works. Often these are connected with aspects of normativity. Again though, the connection between analysis on the micro level and interrelations with the meso and macro level tend to be left out.

Caravedo (2007, 2006, 2005a and b), one of the more recent investigators, explores these two levels through the connection between traditional dialectology and historic settings as well as socio-political aspects such as norm, perception and attitude.

Godenzzi (e.g. 2008a, 2008b, 2007, 2006, 2005) represents the approach nearest to a holistic point of view in the field of Latin American Spanish. His articles and monographs on Andean Spanish from Lima to Puno take into account micro level analysis of corpus based aspects of phonology and morphosyntax etc. and combine these with meso and macro level perspectives on language policy, sociolinguistics and identity. He also often works specifically with migrants and/or bilinguals. His approach remains in the geographical Andean space, without taking Spanish in other parts of the world into account.

This step has only lately been taken by Palacios (e.g. 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005), who has published articles on Spanish mainly from Paraguay and Ecuador as well ← 16 | 17 → as on the Spanish of Latin American migrants in Madrid. Separate articles take a look at, for example, pronoun systems and variation or aspects of identity, but do not usually make connections between these various levels or between different geographic spaces in a comprehensive overview. This might be gained by taking all her work into consideration, but she has not expressly written about it.

Regarding peninsular Spanish, especially of Madrid, standard works by Alvar and Quilis fall into the traditional fields of dialectology and sociolinguistics. Alvar (e.g. 1983) specialises on lexis and historical aspects, but has worked extensively on dialectology, while Quilis (e.g. 1983) covers such fields as phonetics and phonology, in which he specialises, and has also written some works on pronouns, lexis, prosody and intonation. Altogether the field of dialectology in Madrid seems to contain many desiderata for future research. Corpus based works on Spanish related to everyday linguistic interaction are few and far between.

Some of the aspects discussed fall under the category of syntax. This is an area widely investigated in many languages. Labov (2001) for example, approaches the subject from the perspective of linguistic change. Givón (2009, 2001, 1995) on the other hand, analyzes universal grammatical structures in various languages at the intersection of syntax, pragmatics and semantics. For Spanish syntactical structures Bosque/Demonte (1999) write a detailed descriptive grammar.

Many of the aspects taken into consideration, fall into the category of sociolinguistics traditionally. Garfinkel, in his “Ethnomethodological studies of work” (1986), wrote about one decisive aspect that applies to everyday social interaction and thus also to language: the irremediable vagueness that is always included in all situations, permitting understanding as well as preserving openness towards interaction. Keeping this in mind, one of the first to describe the connection between social life and language was Dell Hymes (1972), who (also) approached the subject from an ethnological point of view. Inspired by Garfinkel and Goffman, Sacks (e.g. 1992) and Schegloff (also more recently e.g. 2007) developed conversation analysis as another means of understanding language and communication in discourse, in connection with social life. Here the focus of attention lies on the micro level of analysis, considering turn-taking and sequence analysis in conversation, and is thus a more interactive level than those considered by traditional dialectological approaches. Gumperz (e.g. 1982a and b, 1974), who worked together with Dell Hymes, on the other hand developed an interactional approach in sociolinguistics and analysed not so much how discourse in conversation developed as Sacks and Schegloff did, but rather characteristics of social interaction such as discourse strategies and their connection with social identity. These basic investigations form part of the foundation for later more holistic ecological linguistic work. They also combine well with methods such as social network analysis originally used by sociologists. The social network approach in linguistics often includes taking a look at the exact socio-historic and infrastructural constitution of the spaces the networks are situated in. Thus Milroy (1987) considers members of linguistic networks in Belfast within certain communities and undertakes a description of these using the network approach. She relates her findings to phonetic-phonological ← 17 | 18 → phenomena elicited through corpus based field research and therefore takes into account natural language (see also Milroy/Muysken 1995). However, these works remain on the meso level and neither connect all three levels nor different spaces in comparative analysis. In line with discourse analysis and conversation analysis as well as network analysis we find works by Tannen (e.g. 1989, 1984), who combines these approaches. She investigates conversational style as a means of making interaction function, but also as a way of explaining misunderstanding and failure in conversation. This kind of approach takes a closer look at linguistic mechanisms such as repetition and imagery in explanations of its findings. Here again, we find ourselves mainly on the micro level of analysis, that is the actual linguistic interaction. The meso level that influences conversational style is taken into account, but with very little regard for the socio-cultural, even less for the historical, perspective either on the meso or the macro level. Another approach is adopted by Bruno Illius’ “Das Shipibo: Texte, Kontexte, Kommentare: ein Beitrag zur diskursorientierten Untersuchung einer Montaña-Kultur” (1999). Illius analyses types of communication and their relation to types of culture and also such aspects as gender, social position, orality, and ceremoniality.

What most fields reviewed up to this point lack are the aspects of comparison and language contact. These tend to be closely related, since comparative analyses appear mostly in analyses of language contact. Language contact has been researched from a very early point in the development of linguistics. One of the first scholars to write explicitly about languages in contact was Weinreich in 1953. Since then, investigations nowadays considered to be basic theoretical writing on language contact followed. Amongst these is the groundbreaking work by Thomason & Kaufman on contact induced language change and creolisation, which presents a model of how contact induced change can lead to language maintenance or language shift and creolisation on a long-term basis encompassing various steps. Based on such approaches and further developments we can find more differentiated models for example in Pagel (2015)2. Since these approaches ultimately consider the historic macro level of long term change and its outcome historically, I will not include them unless they contribute to the understanding of the issues at hand in the analysis of linguistic results, for the focus of this work does not include this aspect. Other scholars have done research on topics nearer to the field of contact linguistics in which I am interested, such as Trudgill (1991), who writes on dialect contact, an aspect closely related to the issues discussed. The diverse varieties present in the situations of Andean migrants in the urban spaces of Lima and Madrid could be considered to be dialects of Spanish (see chapter 2.2.3). In his book “Dialect Contact” Trudgill only refers to phonetic-phonological aspects in dialect contact and therefore achieves results that are not representative for all aspects of ← 18 | 19 → linguistic interaction (see chapter 2.2.4). Nevertheless, as one of the basic works for the topic at hand Trudgill is of importance. These investigations can be considered to be part of the framework for the methodological perspective. The interpretation of the actual analysis, set in this frame, can be undertaken more successfully with the theoretical approach supplied by contact linguistics on the micro level, namely the field of borrowing, switching or copying3. The basis here will be a framework developed by Ludwig/Kriegel/Salzmann (to appear). This combines aspects and terminology from Myers-Scotton (2002) such as matrix and embedded language, and, more importantly, ideas from Johanson’s code copying (see e.g. 2006, 2002) instead of borrowing/switching and such aspects as overt and covert copies (see chapter 2.2.4). In a further step the results from the corpus analyses will be interpreted, taking such aspects into consideration, but also for example that of markedness (e.g. Matras 2006)4. Thus the field of contact linguistics yields many important instruments for the interpretation of the data. Combining it with variational linguistics and more specific fields such as pragmatics, grammar, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics etc. can bring us closer to a comprehensive overall perspective such as I intend to pursue.

The aspect of migration, for example, is often neglected. One monograph that tries to consider both language contact and migration is “Kontinuität, Erosion und Innovation des Italienischen im Migrationskontext” by Kristin Reinke (2011), which gives an insight into language change amongst Italians in Montreal. The general aim is the description of long-term change, correlating the results of the corpus-based analysis with socio-cultural information about the migrants. However, the comparison undertaken belongs more in the field of traditional dialectology, considering phenomena in the corpus in comparison with varieties spoken in Italy. Migration and the general socio-cultural settings on the meso and macro level are only taken into account when they concern the migratory background of the speakers.

In such a method as that aimed at here, aspects of culture and personal, as well as collective, identity (fields not altogether alien to linguistics) are also of importance and should be considered more specifically than most of the above mentioned works do. One work on language and identity that considers personal aspects of identity and migration, is “Bilingual couples talk, the discursive construction of hybridity” by Ingrid Piller (2002). Here migration in combination with aspects of identity is explored through conversation analysis based on a corpus, focussing on personal and couple identities constructed in linguistic interaction. ← 19 | 20 → This perspective does not regard the group level. It draws connections to public discourses, but does not in general analyse the socio-cultural settings or wider migratory aspects. The description of socio-historic settings of the spaces concerned, though, requires methodological frameworks which can explain the structures of society and their implications in the situations of migration in the urban spaces analysed. One possibility in this case is the work of Assmann (mainly 1992), whose interest lies in the way in which collective culture and identity develop through collective memory. Hopper (2007) delivers a more global perspective on culture. This strategy is valid when considering broad social perspectives and power structures, although it might not be as useful when more individual structures of migrants build the focus of attention. Therefore works by scholars such as Geertz in his 1973 “Interpretation of cultures”, Bakhtin in his 1981 “Dialogic imagination” or more recent approaches such as Bhabha “The Location of Culture” (1994) are important for the role of culture in the identity of migrants.

It is apparent that very few of the works reviewed give a coherent analysis of the diverse aspects of linguistic interaction and communication or form a cohesive survey of how these interrelate with the diverse aspects and factors on differing levels. Such a holistic approach is, however, very necessary if we want to try to answer the questions posed above (see 1.1) in an adequate manner.

What I intend to undertake, therefore, is an ecological linguistic analysis of interaction in urban space using a current theoretical perspective. Aspects such as language planning or environmental issues that can be part of ecolinguistics approaches, as for example in many of Mühlhäusler’s works (e.g. “Linguistic ecology, language change and linguistic imperialism in the Pacific region”, 1996 or “Language of environment, environment of language, a course in ecolinguistics”, 2003), are neglected here. Rather, an ecological linguistic approach in the way understood here affords methodological instruments for the corpus analysis, for example through such works as “The ecology of language evolution” (2001) and “Language evolution, contact, competition and change” (2008) by Salikoko Mufwene or “Explaining language change, an evolutionary approach” (2000) and “Typology and universals” (2003) by William Croft, as well as giving a holistic perspective on language.

1.3 Theoretical Considerations: the Linguistic Ecology Approach

This specific ecological linguistic approach refers to Ludwig/Mühlhäusler/Pagel (to be published) in an effort to find an approach which embraces and at the same time considers details and their diversity. The model which Ludwig/Mühlhäusler/Pagel develop postulates three levels – macro, meso and micro – as a framework for the consideration of factors on all three levels in the analysis of linguistic interaction. The model allows us to integrate various different aspects and factors into ← 20 | 21 → the theoretical framework and at the same time into the scope of the investigation. It structures the various parts in a general frame, while simultaneously externalizing the relations between the different levels. Among the factors or parameters that can be taken into account through this approach are time spans, group sizes, origins, the receiving society/space, reasons for migration, age, networks and reference to/dependency on origin, attitudes developed towards and amongst migrants, attitudes towards perceived varieties and language usage, and modes of interaction. Thus social, political, historical, geographical, psychological, cultural, interactional, and variational-linguistic factors can all be considered. These diverse factors are organised into a socio-historic macro level including macro spaces: here socio-historic interconnections between spaces are analysed and the resulting socio-cultural settings of the societies are explored. Socio-cultural meso levels of reduced geographic size such as urban spaces and their settings follow, where the connections of urban space with its differentiated form, its society and its historically grown identity, as well as the specific connections with migration and migrant groups are highlighted. Finally we have situational discursive micro levels of specific interaction in which the actual language usage and communication of persons is compiled in a corpus and analysed taking all the other factors into account.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (October)
Sprachkontakt Soziolinguistik Urbanität Migration
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 368 pp., 11 b/w fig.

Biographical notes

Tabea Salzmann (Author)

Tabea Salzmann studied Spanish and Indology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima (Peru) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (India). She has been a researcher at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in cooperation with the Université de Montréal (Canada) and the Hermann-Paul-School of Linguistics in Freiburg (Germany).


Title: Language, Identity and Urban Space