Linguistic Terrains: Landscapes and Socioscapes
The 12th Annual University of Michigan – University of Chicago
Graduate Student Conference in Linguistic Anthropology
The University of Chicago, May 14th and 15th, 2010
Gordon Center for Integrative Science
929 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Keynote speech: Friday, May 14th, 6:00 PM
John Singler, Professor of Linguistics, NYU
“Keeping Pace with Space: The Creation and Negotiation of Stigmatized Linguistic Elements”
A crucial element of the social use of language involves the creation and negotiation of stigma, ranging in scope from the single shibboleth to the wholly stigmatized dialect. The present paper assumes that the assignment of stigma to linguistic elements arises from social motivation, but it then examines the specifically linguistic properties of stigmatized elements. It addresses a chain of linked questions, including the following:
• How much control do speakers exert over their production of stigmatized speech?
• Are there linguistic constraints on the creation of stigmatized forms? That is, are there elements of language that are likely candidates for stigma and elements which are not?
• What role, if any, does stigma play in linguistic change?
The focus of the paper is the individual as well as society, and it considers matters of agency, appropriation, and speaker awareness (while incorporating identity, ideology, and indexicality). Evidence is drawn primarily from pidgins and creoles but also from dialects of American English.
Please see the website (http://anthropology.uchicago.edu/courses/michicago/2010.shtml) for the conference schedule! (Directions to the conference venue will be added to the website shortly.)