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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: Ethnolects and the city: Ethnic orientation and linguistic variation in Toronto English
Author: Michol F Hoffman
Institution: York University
Author: James A. Walker
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.yorku.ca/jamesw
Institution: York University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Following recent work that questions traditional social categories, this paper examines the role of ethnicity in conditioning linguistic variation. Reporting on a large-scale project in the multicultural context of Toronto, we argue for combining emic and etic approaches to social categorization. Focusing on the Chinese and Italian communities, our analysis of two sociolinguistic variables shows that speakers may vary in overall rate, but linguistic conditioning remains largely constant across and within ethnic groups. Whereas there is evidence for language transfer in the first generation, differences between generations suggest that transfer does not persist. Some speakers appear to use overall rates to express ethnic identity. Differences between communities may be explained in terms of different timelines of settlement and visible-minority status.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 22, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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