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Informalization and Hybridization of Speech Practices

Polylingual Meaning-Making across Domains, Genres, and Media


Edited By Amei Koll-Stobbe

Speech practices as discursive practices for meaning-making across domains, genres, and social groups is an under-researched, highly complex field of sociolinguistics. This field has gained momentum after innovative studies of adolescents and young adults with mixed ethnic and language backgrounds revealed that they «cross» language and dialectal or vernacular borders to construct their own hybrid discursive identities. The focus in this volume is on the diversity of emerging hybridizing speech practices through contact with English, predominantly in Europe. Contributions to this collected volume originate from the DFG funded conference on language contact in times of globalization (LCTG4) and from members of the editor’s funded research group «Discursive Multilingualism».

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Series editor’s foreword


This is the tenth volume in my series Language Competence and Language Awareness in Europe. As editor of the collected volume “Hybridization and Informalization of Speech Practices” I decided to invite papers that give insights into the breadth of the themes of hybridization and informalization. Both processes have a tremendous influence on changing conceptions of what a coherent and cohesive text (as product of a discursive process with content) should “look” like, and constitute relevant notions for future curricula. What literacy and communicative competence in secondary or tertiary education should “mean” in the 21st century is currently hotly debated. If you check through German undergraduate student essays, or news texts in print or online media, processes of hybridization and informalization are highly visible: producers abundantly use colloquial language, English borrowings, or code-mixing with English, and oral syntax, across genres such as “essay”, “thesis”, or “take home exam”, or, respectively, sports news, economic section, or celebrity news.

It was not my intention to present a theoretically and methodologically tight, reductionist view on forms and processes of hybridization that emerge from stable contact with English as a global lingua franca, and, more recently from its status as a symbolic transfer code that associates global economic and cultural affluence. It was my intention, however, to expand the conceptual range of hybridization to include hybrid speech practices, by accepting papers that illustrate the conflation of the denotational versus associative discourse modes, and the conflation of discursive modes of explicit direct...

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