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Words Onscreen

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Communication Accommodation Theory

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Academic Paper


Title: The Significance of Lexical Items in the Construction of Ethnolinguistic Identity: A case study of adolescent spoken and online language
Paper URL: http://americanspeech.dukejournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/81/1/3
Author: Christine Mallinson
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://christinemallinson.com
Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Author: Becky Childs
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Coastal Carolina University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Sociolinguistic studies of ethnically contrastive communities have typically focused on the analysis of phonological and morphosyntactic processes as a basis for delimiting the linguistic boundaries speakers mark between themselves and other groups. However, regionally influenced ethnic varieties may not always manifest differences in traditional variationist-based studies of diagnostic phonological and morphosyntactic variables. This study examines how members of an adolescent friendship group in the small black Appalachian community of Texana, North Carolina, use lexical items and meta-commentary on the use of these items when their phonological and morphological variables converge. Since most Texana residents maintain regional speech patterns, we argue that lexical items may serve a significant indexical function in the social construction of ethnicity in this community. Our data suggest that lexical items may take on marked significance as symbolic vehicles through which speakers assert and negotiate their ethnic identity.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: American Speech 81(1):3-30
URL: http://americanspeech.dukejournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/81/1/3
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