Ideological, Attitudinal and Social Identity Perspectives
Edited By Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt
Britta Schneider - Language ideologies beyond ethnicity – Observing popular music styles and their potential relevance for understanding processes of endangerment
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Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Language ideologies beyond ethnicity – Observing popular music styles and their potential relevance for understanding processes of endangerment
Abstract Languages are traditionally understood as indexing ethnic belonging while in this contribution I discuss non-ethnic symbolic functions of language. Languages can symbolize non-territorial, abstract matters, which may contribute to their (non)-prestige. I share observations on language ideologies in different popular music styles based on online data and ethnographic research. Although the examples given do not stem from endangered languages, they are potentially relevant for understanding discursive structures that lead to endangerment or loss. One example introduces the role of the Spanish language in Australian and German salsa communities; the other is concerned with the use of creolized Englishes in Caribbean dancehall. In both music styles, language choices are not necessarily explicable by ethnic belonging but are interwoven with discourses that are non-territorial, related to class identity, capitalist mass consumption, neoliberalism, colonial history and/or resistance to any of these. The article finally discusses that multiple symbolic meanings of language shed light on problems associated with evolutionary concepts in endangerment discourse.
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