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LINGUIST List 23.3567

Sun Aug 26 2012

Diss: Socioling/ Text/Corpus Ling/ English/ German: Garley: 'Crossing the Lexicon...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 25-Aug-2012
From: Matthew Garley <mattgarleygmail.com>
Subject: Crossing the Lexicon: Anglicisms in the German Hip Hop Community
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Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Matthew E Garley

Dissertation Title: Crossing the Lexicon: Anglicisms in the German Hip Hop Community

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            German (deu)

Dissertation Director:
Marina Terkourafi
Julia Hockenmaier
Jannis Androutsopoulos
Rakesh Bhatt
Hans Henrich Hock

Dissertation Abstract:

The influence of English on German has been an ongoing subject of
intense popular and academic interest in the German sphere. In order
to better understand this language contact situation, this research
project investigates anglicisms—instances of English language material
in a German language context—in the German hip hop community,
where the use of novel anglicisms is especially frequent. This
investigation takes a methodologically diverse approach, including
complementary corpus, sociolinguistic, and ethnographic analyses. In
this dissertation, I focus primarily on an original 12.5-million-word
German-language corpus of hip hop discussions from the Internet
forums at MZEE.com which includes 11 years of computer-mediated
discourse. I supplement these data with an English-language hip hop
discussion corpus and a set of ethnographic interviews conducted with
hip hop fans and artists in Hamburg in the summer of 2010.

I first detail the development of a computational classifier which
identifies novel anglicisms in the MZEE.com corpus with high accuracy,
yielding a list of 850 frequent anglicisms which is in turn used to identify
unexpected wordforms—those which have a non-canonical
morphological or orthographic nativization. Through an exploration of
the linguistic properties, frequency, and distribution of these forms, I
demonstrate the close link between orthographic, morphological, and
phonological expressions of these anglicisms and argue that these
forms are the result of extraordinary interaction of German and English
linguistic-orthographic rules. The next analysis investigates the
diachronic fate of anglicisms in the MZEE corpus, finding that
frequency in an initial time window is significantly, and negatively,
correlated with change in frequency for the set of 850 anglicisms—and
this correlation is much stronger for anglicisms than for native German
words, indicating the limited shelf life of anglicisms' stylistic utility, a
situation corroborated by the subsequent analysis of ethnographic
interviews with linguistic actors in the German hip hop community. That
analysis reveals systematic and enduring constellations of attitudes
toward German, English, and the use of anglicisms which interact with
what I term the standard language ideology complex for German
(including the related ideologies of the standard language, language
purism, and Herderian ideology)—finding a surprising basis of linguistic
conservatism which, even when opposed by individual actors, seems to
reliably frame metalinguistic discourses.

In combination, these findings, 1) that the nativization of anglicism
wordforms is rule-governed, even when it appears haphazard or
disruptive; 2) that many novel anglicisms seem to have a limited
timeframe of popularity; and 3) that the standard language ideology
complex and other related ideological stances toward anglicisms are
dominant, even in a subcultural community where English material is
ubiquitous and linguistic 'resistance' is hypothesized; suggest that
concerns about the imminent decline or loss of the German language
are a gross exaggeration, simultaneously shedding light on the
processes behind lexical borrowing and adaptation.

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