“With my parents I speak integrated Arabic” – Integration, linguistic contrasts and social status relations

Channel View Publications and Multilingual Matters

Lian Malai Madsen has recently been announced as the winner of the 2014 Ton Vallen award.  This is an annual award for papers written by new researchers  on sociolinguistic and educational issues in multicultural societies which we at Multilingual Matters are proud to support. In this article Lian discusses the background to her paper which examines integration and linguistic styles in Denmark.

My husband moved to Denmark 12 years ago from the UK. When we met he used to live off microwave meals and industrial white sandwich bread, but now he bakes his own rye bread. Rye bread can be considered a key sign of Danish national belonging (as Martha Karrebæk has shown in her research, e.g. in What’s in your lunch box? 2012), and not only does he consume it, he creates it himself – from basic organic ingredients. I like to joke about this change by calling him well ‘integrated’…

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Danielle, Dorothea, Laurel and Maciej at NWAV


PhD alumnae Danielle Turton and Dorothea Hoffmann, and staff members Laurel MacKenzie and Maciej Baranowski, have this week been in Chicago for NWAV 43. Manchet’s correspondent on the ground reports that it was a great conference, the weather in Chicago was terrific, the Manchester crowd’s talks had an excellent turnout, and there was a charming musical tribute (that had the whole conference crowd singing) to Bill Labov in honour of his retirement on Saturday night!

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Review: Love and Other Foreign Words

The Miscellaneous Folk Life

Love and Other Foreign Words, by Erin McCahan

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This book made me wish I’d taken sociolinguistics in university. Trust me, this is a good thing.

Josie is 15, gifted, the youngest of three sisters, and obsessed with languages and translation. Not just English vs. French or Spanish, but the variations of the English language that make up the different parts of her life. She is most comfortable speaking Josie, but also understands the languages of High School and College (called, respectively, Ohmig*d and Ohmig*d 2.0), Boyfriends and Beautiful Girls. About Josie’s sister and friend, she says: “Sophie and Maggie, to varying degrees of formality, speak the language of beautiful women. I can translate it because I grew up hearing it, but it is not my mother tongue.”

The lens of different languages (or maybe different dialects?) works well to show Josie’s perspective of the people around her. Genius-level smarts run in her…

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Mancunians at Methods in Dialectology


The programme for Methods in Dialectology XV, 11th-15th August 2014 in Groningen, is packed with current and former Manchester linguists. We’ve got:

  • Lecturer Maciej Baranowski on The sociolinguistics of back vowel fronting in Manchester English
  • SALC senior language tutor Rasha Solaiman on Mutual intelligibility between the Arabic dialects
  • Former research associate Nicholas Flynn on Potential pitfalls when choosing to normalize
  • The crack team of Laurel MacKenzie, George Bailey and Danielle Turton on Crowdsourcing dialectology in the undergraduate classroom
  • PhD alumnus Jonathan Morris on The Future of Welsh Dialects? The Effects of Societal
    Changes on (r) Variation in Northern Welsh
  • Postgrad Danielle Turton on /l/-darkening in varieties of English: A dialectological approach to articulatory variation, in a workshop co-organized by PhD alum Patrycja Strycharczuk
  • Former lecturer Benedikt Szmrecsanyi on Corpus-based dialectometry: why and how (with Freiburg’s Christoph Wolk)
  • Baranowski and Turton again, on Linguistic and social constraints on…

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Bryan Garner’s language-change index

Stroppy Editor

One of the best aspects of Garner’s Modern American Usage is that Bryan Garner doesn’t simply judge things as right or wrong. He doesn’t shy away from condemnation, but he knows – like any genuine language aficionado – that English is always in flux and always contains grey areas.

So he has a language-change index. “Its purpose,” he says, “is to measure how widely accepted various linguistic innovations have become.”

There are five stages of change that a particular piece of language may be at:

  1. Rejected. “A new form emerges as an innovation (or some dialectal usage persists) among a small minority of the language community, perhaps displacing a traditional usage. … People normally consider innovations at this stage outright mistakes.” Examples: “unconscionably” to mean “unconsciously”; “thiefs”; “prevaricate” to mean “procrastinate”; “highjack” instead of “hijack”; “baited breath”; “brung”.
  2. Widely shunned. “The form spreads to a significant portion of the language…

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Gender Differences The Meaning of Color for Gender by Natalia Khouw

Gender Differences The Meaning of Color for Gender  by Natalia Khouw

Is there a gender difference in response to color? Although findings are ambiguous, many investigations have indicated that there are differences between gender in preferences for colors. Early investigations done by by Guilford (1934) on the harmony of color combinations found that a person is likely to see balance in colors that are closely related or the opposite. Guilford also found some evidence that more pleasing results were obtained from either very small or very large differences in hue rather than medium differences, with this tendency more frequent in women than men.


Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects the ways in which its respective speakers conceptualize their world, i.e. their world view, or otherwise influences their cognitive processes. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions:

Strong version: that language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories
Weak version: that linguistic categories and usage influence thought and certain kinds of non-linguistic behaviour.