Most people modify their ways of speaking, writing, texting, and e-mailing, and so on, according to the people with whom they are communicating. This fascinating book asks why we 'accommodate' to others in this way, and explores the various social consequences arising from it.
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 21:15:33 -0400 From: Janet Fuller Subject: Bilingualism and Social Relations: Turkish Speakers in NW Europe
EDITOR: J. Normann Jørgensen TITLE: Bilingualism and Social Relations SUBTITLE: Turkish Speakers in North Western Europe PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters Ltd. YEAR: 2003
Janet M. Fuller, Department of Linguistics, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
[The reviewer reports that the cover of the book lists its title as ''Bilingualism and Social Change'', so refers to ''social change'' rather than ''social relations'' in her review. --Eds.]
This book is a welcome addition to the literature on bilingualism in that it presents views of language use in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands which show the many and varied roles of immigrant languages in these countries. Also published as vol. 24, Nos 1 & 2 of the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, this collection stresses social roots and consequences of language choice, but does not neglect the analysis of locally-motivated code-switching.
Chapter 1 is an introduction by the editor which provides an excellent history of the field of sociolinguistics and a background for the position of the chapters in this volume: linguistic variation creates social structures and social differences. Of the subsequent seven chapters, four analyze data from a longitudinal study of Turkish-Danish bilinguals (the Køge project). This project, which follows bilingual children through nine years of linguistic and social development, provides an unprecedented amount of data on the development of bilingualism. Thus, these data are ideal for the aim of this volume, i.e., looking at bilingualism and social change. Two of the other chapters in this volume look at Turkish speakers in Germany, and the remaining chapter presents survey data from adolescents with and without a (Turkish) migrant background in the Netherlands and Denmark.
The second and third chapters involve analyses of Turkish speakers in Germany. 'Mixed Language Varieties of Migrant Adolescents and the Discourse of Hybridity', written by Volker Hinnenkamp, involves a discussion of both local and global functions of code-switching. Local functions include such patterns as using Turkish to relate events of a narrative, and German to comment upon them; but such patterns are never categorical in the data. Also present is the use of codes to index certain societal roles and meanings; most notably, the use of Gastarbeiterdeutsch (guest worker German, or immigrants' pidgin German) to mock not only people who actually speak German this way, but also the majority German prejudice that Turks cannot master the German language. In this way, the language of these bilinguals is indicative of their identity, which contrasts with both older generation of Turks and Germans without a migrant background.
The other contribution using data from Germany is titled 'Cultural Orientation and Language Use Among Multilingual Youth Groups: ''For me it is like we all speak one language''', and is written by Inci Dirim and Andreas Hieronymus. This chapter discusses the acquisition of Turkish, a minority language in Germany, by speakers of non-Turkish descent, and the use of German-Turkish code-switching as an unmarked choice. This linguistic behavior can be seen as resistance to the expectations of the majority, i.e. assimilation to the majority language and culture, and restricted use of minority languages. Use of Turkish by speakers of non-Turkish descent is most prevalent in the lower-income multi-ethnic networks, but can also be seen among university-bound adolescents who inhabit multilingual and multicultural neighborhoods.
Jacob Cromdal, the author of the fourth chapter, writes on 'The Creation and Administration of Social Relations in Bilingual Group Work'. Using data from the Køge project, this analysis shows how language, and language choice, are used by one dominant speaker in a small group interaction to impose the task of narrative construction upon the group, while at the same time curtailing their participation in the task. All the speakers in this interaction use code-switching for expression of affect and to indicate alignment; the dominant speaker is simply the most effective code-switcher. However, Cromdal argues that for this speaker, it is not code-switching per se which is powerful, but how it is used to manipulate alliances in order to achieve her goal of completing the task of creating a narrative.
The fifth chapter was authored by Trine Esdahl, and looks at 'Language Choice as a Power Resource in Bilingual Adolescents' Conversations in the Danish Folkeskole'. This analysis of data from the Køge project looks at gender differences in code-switching patterns. Seventh grade appears to be a turning point at which both boys and girls use more Danish in interactions with their peers, although this pattern is more dramatic among the girls. This language choice reflects a recognition of the societal norms for use of their two languages (i.e., Danish has more overt prestige and thus is used more, at least in the public arena of school). However, these children also use code-switching strategically to establish and maintain their roles and positions within the group.
Lian Malai Madsen's contribution, 'Power Relationships, Interactional Dominance and Manipulation Strategies in Group Conversations of Turkish-Danish Children', also addresses gender differences in data from the Køge project. She finds that in grade 2 -4, girls in same-sex interactions are linguistically more competitive than boys, as evidenced by their higher rates of new initiatives and non-focally linked utterances. Boys in same-sex interactions use more focally linked utterances and responding initiatives, which she describes as more coherent linguistic behavior. However, in mixed-sex groups, girls adapt to the more coherent style of the boys. Further, her analysis of disputes shows that the individuals who are winning their disputes in second grade continue to wield power over their peers throughout primary school, suggesting that social roles are created at an early age and are not apt to change.
The seventh chapter of this volume deviates from the type of analysis exhibited in the other contributions in that it employs data from a written survey. Erica Huls, Ad Backus, Saskia Klomps, and Jens Norman Jørgensen's chapter, 'Adolescents Involved in the Construction of Equality in Urban Multicultural Settings', uses Politeness Theory to explain request choices in a survey completed by adolescents in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Køge (Denmark). The respondents included groups of youths with a background of migration from Turkey, and those without a migration background. The Turkish-background youths in Rotterdam responded in ways that would be predicted by Politeness Theory -- i.e., they used a wide range of forms of requests (from 'careful' to 'straightforward') depending on the interlocutor. However, all of the other three groups (Dutch youths with no migration background, and groups of adolescents both with and without a migration background from Køge) were oriented to the construction of equality, albeit to varying degrees. That is, they used forms which were relatively 'straightforward' for all addressees. These provocative findings challenge the idea that social hierarchy is expressed in language behavior, or that the construct of social hierarchy is universallyrecognized.
The final chapter, by the editor Jens Norman Jørgensen, is titled 'Languaging Among Fifth Graders: Code-Switching in Conversation 501 of the Køge Project'. Jørgensen discusses three strong societal forces on language choice, and goes on to show how the children ''with premeditation, pleasure, virtuosity, skill and wonderful effects'' (p. 145) violate all three of these norms. The first norm, language hierarchy, is violated when high status languages (English, Sealand Danish, and Swedish) are used mockingly. The second, the double monolingualism view (i.e., the view that bilinguals should function just like monolinguals in each of their languages), is violated by their persistent code-switching. The third norm, described as a generally negative evaluation of teenagers' speech, is violated by the verbal fights, word play, screams and curses they use which are a model of the type of language adults disparage. Despite the role of bi- or multilingualism necessary for the violation of the first two norms, Jørgensen stresses that this type of language use is typical of all adolescent speech: it uses whatever varieties are in the children's repertoire to negotiate their social roles and relationships.
Overall, these studies contribute both valuable data and thoughtful analyses to the field of bilingualism. There are, however, some shortcomings to the volume. Hinnenkamp's article would be more accessible if his discussion of 'speaking mixed' came first, and his examples were more clearly tied to this overarching theme (although admittedly, the data themselves make fascinating reading). The following chapter by Dirim and Hieronymus offers a more clearly laid out framework, but less application of that framework with reference to the actual examples than one might hope for. Both of the articles which deal explicitly with language and gender (by Esdahl and Masden) do a nice job of presenting their results, but rely only minimally on the vast body of literature on language, gender and power. The final article by Jørgensen, although in many ways the finest of the volume, comes close to undermining its own agenda by insisting that the bi- (or multi-) lingual children in his study are no different than monolingual ones. His point is well-taken -- all adolescents do use their linguistic repertoires in similar ways; what varies is the repertoires. However, I would argue that the ability of these children to chose different languages, with vastly different social statuses and functions, is a critical part of what makes these data part of social change.
These articles, in addition to providing a picture of the linguistic landscape in northwestern Europe, also offer insights to those of us who deal with similar phenomena in different locations. These studies contain a rich smorgasbord of ideas and perspectives which can inform studies of code-switching and variation everywhere.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Janet M. Fuller is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her research interests include bilingualism and language contact, discourse analysis, and language and gender. She is currently involved in a project examining the language choices and identity negotiation of Mexican-American youths in a bilingual classroom.