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LINGUIST List 20.2854

Sun Aug 23 2009

Diss: Anthro Ling/Socioling: Chen: 'Bilinguals in Style: Linguistic...'

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Katherine Hoi Ying Chen, Bilinguals in Style: Linguistic practices and ideologies of Cantonese-English codemixers in Hong Kong

Message 1: Bilinguals in Style: Linguistic practices and ideologies of Cantonese-English codemixers in Hong Kong
Date: 22-Aug-2009
From: Katherine Hoi Ying Chen <hoiyingcumich.edu>
Subject: Bilinguals in Style: Linguistic practices and ideologies of Cantonese-English codemixers in Hong Kong
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Institution: University of Michigan
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Katherine Hoi Ying Chen

Dissertation Title: Bilinguals in Style: Linguistic practices and ideologies of Cantonese-English codemixers in Hong Kong

Dissertation URL: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/58417/1/hoiyingc_1.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Chinese, Yue (yue)

Dissertation Director:
Judith T. Irvine
Sarah G. Thomason
Babra Meek
Robin M. Queen
Lesley Milroy

Dissertation Abstract:

The trilingual (Cantonese, Putonghua and English) and multicultural setting
of Hong Kong makes it a language contact zone in which different patterns
of code-mixing occur. Previous studies of Hong Kong code-mixing mostly
focus on the major pattern commonly found among locally educated ethnic
Chinese; little has been done on the coexistence of different code-mixing
patterns and their social significance. This research employs Irvine's
(2001) conception of 'style', and the associated Irvine and Gal (1995)
semiotic processes of language ideologies, to investigate two code-mixing
patterns found in Hong Kong and to explore how they are used indexically to
construct distinct social and linguistic identities. The code-mixing style
commonly used by the local younger generation, using Muysken's (2000)
typology, is insertional, in that individual English lexical items are
inserted into a base language of Cantonese at an intra-sentential level. In
contrast, another code-mixing style, which correlates with speakers who
have overseas and/or international school experience, is structurally much
more complex. It has a combination of insertion (Cantonese insertion into
English sentences and vice versa), alternation between the two languages,
and the use of discourse markers at switch points. For the local younger
generation, most of whom went through Hong Kong's bilingual education
system, use of the local code-mixing style is a way to identify and
interact with people of shared commonalities. It also provides a means to
distinguish 'outsiders' who use or prefer a different style of language
mixing (or non-mixing). This research reveals how overlapping and fuzzy the
linguistic and social boundaries between Hong Kong locals and returnees
are, yet social participants essentialize the relationship between speech
and speakers, using such knowledge to construct, negotiate, and
(re)position their identities, make decisions about whether or not to cross
perceived social group boundaries; and maneuver in their local social
contexts and beyond. This research demonstrates that, to understand
language and its speakers as social beings, linguistic structures must be
studied in conjunction with their contextualized use as well as the
mediating ideologies, i.e. the three components Silverstein (1985) defines
as constituting a 'total linguistic fact'.

During fieldwork of this dissertation, a sociolinguistic documentary film
on code-mixing and code-switching is also produced, 'Multilingual Hong
Kong: Present jat1 go3 Project' <http://www.foryue.org> , as a resource for
raising public awareness on issues of bilingualism, bilingual education and
language-related social discrimination.

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