Teenagers’ evaluations of the use of English insertions in peer speech

Onderzoeksoutput: Unpublished paper


Background: In much of the non-Anglophone world, the use of English insertions in other languages is associated with being global and modern, with youth and innovation. These social meanings arise as shared knowledge of the links between linguistic forms and social information. Research in decent decades has insisted on the fact that these meanings are fluid, not fixed, uncovering how linguistic features point to social attributes in an “indexical field” (Eckert, 2008). Aim: This study aims to bring new insight into how knowledge and perception of language as social practice develops in young adolescents by investigating their social evaluation of the use of English elements in the local language. Foregrounding the evaluations of English of youngsters who are exposed to a rich array of linguistic and stylistic resources allows us to study how sociolinguistic knowledge is acquired in early adolescence while answering recent calls to give language contact a more central place in sociolinguistic inquiry (Sharma, 2021). Study design: A between-subject experimental set-up investigates the question of what social meanings over 125 Belgian Dutch-speaking adolescents aged 12-15 attribute to the use of English elements in Dutch. In an adapted matched-guise test, respondents listen to speech samples read by a speaker around their own age either (a) entirely in Dutch or (b) in Dutch containing English elements, and evaluate the speakers on a number of personality traits. The speaker, content of the speech samples, lexical elements under variation and traits probed on the questionnaire will be tailored to adolescent linguistic practice (e.g. Tagliamonte, 2016). Factor analyses reveal the underlying dimensionality in the resulting evaluations in terms of status, solidarity and dynamism. Implications: Studying sociolinguistic acquisition in the encounter of English in a Western European language will give insight into how new social meaning emerges when linguistic and cultural systems come into contact. References: Eckert, P. (2008). Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 12(4), 453-476. Sharma, D. (2021). Biographical Indexicality: Personal History as a Frame of Reference for Social Meaning in Variation. In L. Hall-Lew, E. Moore, & R.J. Podesva (eds.). Social Meaning and Linguistic Variation: Theorizing the Third Wave. Cambridge University Press. Tagliamonte, S. (2016). Teen Talk: The Language of Adolescents. Cambridge University Press.
Originele taal-2English
StatusPublished - 14 jul 2022
EvenementSociolinguistics Symposium 24 - Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium
Duur: 13 jul 202216 jul 2022


ConferenceSociolinguistics Symposium 24
Internet adres


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