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Language, Identity and Urban Space

The Language Use of Latin American Migrants


Tabea Salzmann

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.
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7. Summary and Perspectives


7.1 Summary

This book develops an extended model of analysis, interpretation and comprehension of language use and linguistic interaction in context. Based on the three-level model by Ludwig/Mühlhäusler/Pagel (to appear) it adds the parameter of identity as the nexus between the different levels, which expresses itself and is constructed in the linguistic interaction on the micro level. Identity, and thus linguistic interaction, contains aspects which in turn are influenced by all three levels: micro, meso and macro. In analysing language use based on two corpora I was able to show how migrants use varieties in contact that are typologically similar. In our case we cannot speak of different varieties migrants draw on, but rather have to suppose one feature pool to be the basis for their language use. This feature pool reunites all features known and used by migrants. Migrants add to it through their daily linguistic interaction while at the same time drawing on it when interacting.

To achieve the goal of building and maintaining a communication space in interaction, migrants rely on four discourse strategies to manage this. 1. Structuring 2. emotive speech 3. politeness and affability as well as 4. commitment and involvement are the discourse strategies towards which all language use is targeted and within which lies the area of communication. Depending on each situation the relation of the four assumes a concerted proportion, that is, all four are always present but to different extents depending on the...

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