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LINGUIST List 23.2896

Mon Jul 02 2012

Diss: Yiddish/Anthroling/Applied Ling/Discourse Analysis/Socioling: Avineri: 'Heritage Language Socialization Practices in Secular Yiddish...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 30-Jun-2012
From: Netta Avineri <navinerigmail.com>
Subject: Heritage Language Socialization Practices in Secular Yiddish Educational Contexts: The creation of a metalinguistic community
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Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Program: Department of Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Netta Avineri

Dissertation Title: Heritage Language Socialization Practices in Secular Yiddish Educational Contexts: The creation of a metalinguistic community

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
                            Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): Yiddish, Eastern (ydd)
                            Yiddish, Western (yih)

Dissertation Director:
Elinor Ochs
Charles Goodwin
Sarah Bunin Benor
John Heritage
Paul V. Kroskrity

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation develops a theoretical and empirical framework for the
model of metalinguistic community, a community of positioned social actors
engaged primarily in discourse about language and cultural symbols tied to
language. Building upon the notions of speech community (Duranti, 1994;
Gumperz, 1968; Morgan, 2004), linguistic community (Silverstein, 1998),
local community (Grenoble & Whaley, 2006), and discourse community (Watts,
1999), metalinguistic community provides a novel practice-based (Bourdieu,
1991) framework for diverse participants who experience a strong connection
to a language and its speakers but may lack familiarity with them due to
historical, personal, and/or communal circumstances. This research
identifies five dimensions of metalinguistic community: socialization into
language ideologies is a priority over socialization into language
competence and use, conflation of language and culture, age and
corresponding knowledge as highly salient features, use and discussion of
the code are primarily pedagogical, and use of code in specific
interactional and textual contexts (e.g., greeting/closings, assessments,
response cries, lexical items related to religion and culture, mock language).

As a case study of metalinguistic community, this dissertation provides an
in-depth ethnographic analysis of contemporary secular engagement with
Yiddish language and culture in the United States. The project is based
upon nearly three years of fieldwork in Southern California, Northern
California, and New York in over 170 language classes, programs, lectures,
and cultural events, resulting in more than one hundred hours of video- and
audio-recorded interactional and interview data. It has also investigated
literature, print media, and online sources related to Yiddish in secular
milieus. In order to capture the diversity of actors and contexts through
time and space, the study examines meta-Yiddish literature in historical
context, conflicted stance (DuBois, 2007; Goodwin, 2007; Jaffe, 2009)
toward linguistic alternatives as socialization practice, Yiddish
"endangerment" as interactional reality and discursive strategy, a
person-centered ethnographic approach (Hollan, 2001) to Yiddish as a
heritage language, and epistemic ecologies in intergenerational contexts.
This project explores the multiple ways that metalinguistic community
members engage in "nostalgia socialization" into an imagined nationhood
(Anderson, 1983) of the Jewish diaspora, demonstrating the central role of
language as identity maker and marker within multilingual contexts.

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