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Ethnicity and Language Variation

Grammar and Code-switching in the Afrikaans Speech Community

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Gerald Stell

This book discusses the linguistic reflection of ethnicity using as an illustration informal speech patterns in the bi-ethnic Afrikaans speech community. Its theoretical outlook is based on variationist studies and discourse studies on the processes shaping ethnicity. Two areas of language variation come into focus, namely Afrikaans morphosyntax and Afrikaans-English code-switching. Coloured and White speech norms are quantitatively reconstructed on the basis of a corpus of informal speech. This forms the point of departure for a qualitative reconstruction of strategies of ethnic identity negotiation. It is shown that quantifiable trends of linguistic convergence are not incompatible with enduring ethnic differentiation in speech norms.
Contents: Language and the Afrikaans speech community from past to present – Race/ethnicity and linguistic variation – Building a corpus of spoken Afrikaans – Methodology for corpus analysis – Grammatical variation – Code-switching – A reconstructed picture of language variation in the Afrikaans speech community and its implications.