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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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Language contact varieties in Aboriginal Australia: The case of Enindhilyakwa


Abstract This paper describes some of the changes that have occurred in Australian Aboriginal languages due to the contact with English. The aim is twofold: first, I give an overview of the various contact languages that have emerged in Australia, which include all the known varieties: pidgins, creoles, mixed languages and restructuring – apart from language death. Second, I wish to contribute new data on contact-induced changes in Enindhilyakwa, a polysynthetic language spoken in Northern Australia and compare these to the changes in two other polysynthetic languages: Murrinh Patha and Tiwi. Enindhilyakwa appears to have changed comparatively little, but most of the observed new forms are more like English. Due to the rapidly shifting social structures and the pressure of English, Enindhilyakwa is, like all Australian Aboriginal languages, considered endangered, so it is expected to change more, and perhaps faster, in the future.

Keywords: Aboriginal language, pidgin, creole, mixed languages

1 Introduction

Language change across generations is common in all societies, but can take varied and drastic forms in communities where traditional languages come into contact with colonial languages such as English or Spanish. Moreover, sociocultural changes, such as the recent phenomena of globalization, the rise of digital media and a changing political climate, are known to be critically linked to language diffusion and linguistic change, with political and economic upheavals accelerating the rate of change (Trudgill 2011). The indigenous people of Australia are a particularly poignant example of how social factors and...

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