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Multilingual Identities: New Global Perspectives

Edited By Inke Du Bois and Nicole Baumgarten

The contributions in this volume shed light on lived multilingualism around the globe. A small, but still representative selection of the multitude of migrant experiences, all studies share the intertwining of geographical mobility and non-mainstream linguistic practices which serves as a resource of agency and promotes alternative multiple identities of the immigrant speakers. This volume is based on the two core tenets of sociolinguistic identity research. First, it accepts the idea that identities or sub-identities are in a sense pre-given and can be formulated through membership categories. Second, identities are viewed as being enacted and performed, thus constituting social realities. In the social construction of identity, national and linguistic boundaries dissolve. The originating countries of the participants (and/or their ancestors) in the studies of this volume include Argentina, Ethiopia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Morocco, the Phillipines, Korea, Kazakhstan, Suriname and India. The countries of immigration include Germany, the USA, Israel, France and the Netherlands.


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Communicative practices among migrant youth in Germany: ‘Insulting address forms’ as a multi-functional activity. Susanne Günthner


Communicative practices among migrant youth in Germany: ‘Insulting address forms’ as a multi-functional activity Susanne Günthner 1. Introduction1 Globalization and migrant movements are transforming the communicative environment of late modernity.2 Germany, as well as other Western European countries, is not only develop- ing from a monoethnic to a multiethnic but also from a monolingual to a multilingual socie- ty. As a result, new communicative practices are unfolding. Language mixing and creoliza- tion are emerging, the relationship between majority and minority languages becoming more complex and dynamic (Hewitt 1994; Rampton 1995; Kotsinas 1998; Auer 2002; Hinnen- kamp 2005; Dirim and Auer 2004; Keim 2002a, b; Kallmeyer and Keim 2003; Hinnenkamp and Meng 2005). Along with the development of new forms of linguistic diversity, we ob- serve the construction of new forms of social and cultural identities. Belongings are also no longer considered solely related to regional roots and local residencies. Youth with a migrant background, for example, reject simple self-categorizations like migrants’, ‘Turks’, ‘Arabs’, ‘Russians’ or ‘Germans’. Instead, multi-cultural places, multiple belongings, and multi- cultural identities are evolving. The ‘natural’ links between nation, cultural practices, identi- ties, and language are dissolving (Jacquemet 2005). The category of ‘transmigration’ (Stein 2008) provides an approach with which to de- scribe this cultural as well as linguistic ‘in-betweenness’ which transcends the traditional paradigm of migration. It does not look at migrant or minority speech communities as isolat- ed entities inside a nation-state to be analyzed in opposition to the dominant, standard na- tional language....

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