Abstracts: Spring 2019

Pelin Onar Valk (Independent researcher)
Ongoing change in Dutch Turkish Subordination: Converging evidence of change regarding finiteness and word order in complex clauses

This talk will mostly discuss Onar Valk (2015) and Onar Valk & Backus (submitted). It will, namely, revolve around the phenomena of contact-induced change and multilingualism, from linguistic and societal aspects, with special attention on the methodology used to study language change.

Language change is inevitable, and nowhere more so than in contact settings. When people habitually use two or more languages at the same time, the languages influence each other in many ways (syntactically, semantically, phonetically or morphologically). This study investigates contact-induced structural change in immigrant Turkish spoken in the Netherlands, with a focus on the domain of subordination. The study emphasizes the value of finding converging evidence. Experimental and conversational data were collected from participants in the Netherlands, and these were compared to similar data from similar participants in Turkey. Furthermore, the bilingual data were collected in monolingual and in bilingual speech modes. Turkish tends to employ non-finite subordinate clauses that canonically precede the matrix verb (reflecting verb-final word order), while the corresponding clauses in Dutch are finite and follow the matrix verb (employing verb-medial order). Bilinguals preferred forming Turkish subordinate clauses with the Dutch-like characteristics: finite and verb-medial. However, they found the conventional subordinate structures just as acceptable as people in Turkey did. The conclusion is that these conventional structures still occupy a strong position in the mental grammars of these speakers although they do not use them much in actual speech. Surprisingly, whether the participants were in monolingual or bilingual mode did not matter much. Unconventionalities, changes in preferences and frequency differences in the data are interpreted as tokens of a contact-induced change.

In conclusion, as one of the first systematic syntactic studies of this language constellation, this work shows that ‘change’ is going on in Dutch Turkish. The results show that subordination and word order of complex clauses in Dutch Turkish is different from those in Turkey-Turkish. The findings contribute to our knowledge of how languages change. Data from the various methods converged, but not completely, suggesting that language change is a complex phenomenon.

Tom Van Hout (University of Antwerp & Leiden University)
Infotaining the imagined audience. How journalists recontextualize politicians’ reported speech.

In an era of proliferating news discourse and growing distrust of establishment institutions, journalists employ a range of discursive techniques to engage their audiences. One such technique, usually reserved for campaign coverage but increasingly used in business-as-usual political coverage, focuses attention on the linguistic performance of people in the news and associates types of language use with types of speakers.

To illustrate this claim, I discuss journalists’ uptake of political (mis)communication. My data consist of recycled snippets of reported speech taken from a Belgian news site. These snippets present us with what journalists consider worth using (and re-using), revealing, and thus infotaining, bits of reported speech about the main characters: the quoted politician and the journalist captioning the quote. Rather than speak for themselves, the quotes are recentered to speak through recontextualization and double-voicing.

I argue that such journalistic metadiscourse formulates acceptable and unacceptable interactional styles and linguistic performance in the public sphere. I analyze how the journalistic responses evaluate the reported speakers. Findings show how a media logic conditions what politicians can and cannot say, to whom and about whom, and how journalists assess politicians who do not comply with this logic. Evaluations of the moral and verbal merits of what politicians do with words evince an appreciation for colorful characters, self-deprecatory humor, plain language, and stylistic craftsmanship. Media criticism is generally rebuffed: text bites do boundary work, demarcating the professional territory of journalists and politicians.

Christopher Hart (University of Lancaster) 
Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis

Theories of Cognitive Linguistics are now frequently employed as analytical apparatus in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) where they shed light on the discursive construction of ideology and the legitimation of social action (Hart 2014). Much of this work has been focussed on the persuasive power of metaphor. In this session, I introduce, through a number of specific case studies, some of the broader ways in which Cognitive Linguistics can contribute to CDA. This includes applications of conceptual approaches to grammar (Langacker 2008; Talmy 2000) to discourses of political protest and discourses of migration. As part of the session, we will further consider recent experimental evidence for the ideological influence of textual/conceptual structures. We will also reflect on the relationship between language and image in multimodal cognition and in multimodal texts.

Suggested readings:

Hart, C. (2018). ‘Riots Engulfed the City’: An Experimental Study Investigating the Legitimating Effects of Fire Metaphors in Discourses of Disorder. Discourse & Society 29 (3): 279-298.

Hart, C. (2018). Event-frames affect blame assignment and perception of aggression: An experimental case study in CDA. Applied Linguistics 39 (3): 400-421.

Hart, C. (2017). Metaphor and Intertextuality in Media Framings of the (1984-85) British Miners’ Strike: A Multimodal Analysis. Discourse & Communication 11 (1): 3-30.

Hart, C. (2016). The visual basis of linguistic meaning and its implications for CDS: Integrating cognitive linguistic and multimodal methods. Discourse & Society 27 (3): 335-350.

Hart, C. (2015). Viewpoint in linguistic discourse: Space and evaluation in news reports of political protests. Critical Discourse Studies 12 (3):238-260.

Ad Backus (Tilburg University)
Multilingualism in the usage-based era

As part of a growing research tradition in contact linguistics, I have been involved in several projects that apply a usage-based approach to the investigation and explanation of language contact phenomena. In this talk, I will first summarize some of that recent work, before relating it to other traditions and trends in the study of bilingualism. I will defend the position that much of this work either uses a usage-based perspective or is compatible with it. Finally, interpreting this as suggesting there is a need for the integration of disciplinary perspectives, I will sketch what such integration could look like, and to what degree this necessitates new research questions and a fresh look at some old ones. Work on language contact has taken place in various sub-disciplines and often focuses on separate phenomena that nevertheless all occur together in the everyday lived reality and in the minds of bilingual speakers. These phenomena include language mixing (or codeswitching), contact-induced structural change, the processing of bilingual speech and its implications for the cognitive organization of bilingual knowledge, and the social factors that determine language use in multilingual settings, especially language choice, and what this tells us about identity issues as well as long-term developments such as language maintenance and language shift. I will illustrate these various strands, where possible, with work on Turkish spoken as an immigrant language in the Netherlands and other parts of Western Europe. I will then argue that adopting a usage-based perspective entails the conclusion that these phenomena are not as separable as it seems, and that better, or more encompassing, explanations of linguistic knowledge and of language change could be forthcoming if we manage to integrate these research traditions more. The key, I will argue, is the closer integration of sociality and cognition as dimensions that both need to be taken into account jointly. While both cognitive sciences and social sciences, and their linguistic manifestations psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, have, of course, valuable things to say about language, the direct association between the way language is used, as determined by the needs of human sociality, and the way it is processed, as determined by the universals of human cognition, makes it necessary to address their interaction as well. In this talk I will explore this integration to account for empirical findings on Immigrant Turkish and compare the perspective to various recently popularized concepts, including Heritage Languages, simultaneous and sequential acquisition, and translanguaging. What I hope to contribute to is the contours of a model that explains why languages change, a model that uses cognitive underpinnings and the requirements of sociality as jointly contributing causal factors, and that conjures up new questions about language that help linguistics reposition itself in the broader field of human culture studies.

Nathan John Albury (Leiden University) 
Language ideology, language attitudes: What’s the difference and does it matter?

Sociolinguistics is awash with studies into language ideologies and language attitudes within the broader framework of researching and understanding how people and communities engage – in sociocognitive terms – with the linguistic world around them. Dating back to the pioneering works of Hymes (1962), we now accept as a fait accompli that the social environs of language behaviour should be given as much attention as that behaviour itself. We acknowledge, for example, that a language has a greater chance of ongoing vitality if it is prized and valued by society, whether this be for social, cultural or economic reasons (May 2000, Albury 2016). We recognise that language ideologies can act as unspoken language policy in communities of practice (Spolsky 2004), and also that people evaluate each other’s languages, accents, and dialects in attitudinal terms (Baker 2011). Crucially, ideologies and attitudes become enacted such that they help to structure – for better or for worse – perceptions of the other and, therefore, relations between groups of people, social status, and even the credibility and integrity of an individual. So, what actually is the difference between language attitudes and language ideologies in theoretical terms? Surprisingly, and despite these being ubiquitous terms that are often used interchangeably, minimal work has sought to discuss or define the two concepts for conceptual clarity from each other. After giving a brief overview of the value of language ideological and attitudinal research, this paper seeks to delineate and problematise language ideologies and language attitudes in theoretical terms, and highlights the opportunities and challenges that they, as distinct (or related?) concepts, bring to sociolinguistics with reference to an international library of sociolinguistic research.

Albury, Nathan John. 2016. “Defining Māori language revitalisation: A project in folk linguistics.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 20 (3):287-311.

Baker, Colin. 2011. Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Vol. 79: Multilingual matters.

Hymes, D. 1962. “The ethnography of speaking.” In Anthropology and Human Behavior, edited by T Gladwin and W C Sturtevant, 13-53. Washington D.C.: Anthropological Society of Washington.

May, Stephen. 2000. “Accommodating and resisting minority language policy: The case of Wales.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 3 (2):101-128.

Spolsky, Bernard. 2004. Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Alison Edwards (Leiden University)
Dutch or ‘another’ language? Language policy at Dutch universities

Language policy at Dutch universities is currently at a critical juncture. In 2018 alone, Maastricht and Twente universities were sued over the proliferation of English-language degrees, and the education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven announced that study programmes may lose their accreditation if they fail to adequately justify the use of English-medium instruction.
In this talk I present new research on language policy at Dutch universities, drawing on the fields of critical discourse analysis and language ideologies. I investigate discourses surrounding the language of instruction by means of a multi-layered analysis of policy documents at state level (policy memos, advisory reports) and institution level (university internationalisation strategies and linguistic codes of conduct).
The documents often refer to English euphemistically in descriptions of the language of instruction as Dutch or ‘another language’. Policies at both levels display language ideologies rooted in traditional notions of language separation and the native-speaker ideal, even while paying lip service to the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism-as-resource. The analysis also reveals frictions rooted in conflicting interests at state and institutional level. The former are drawn up in response to political demands, the latter in response to the pressure to internationalise and attract foreign staff and students. As has been found for Denmark (Hultgren 2014), the result is that state-authored policies are in favour of more Dutch, while institution-authored policies favour more English.

Hultgren, A.K. (2014). Whose parallellingualism? Overt and covert ideologies in Danish university language policies. Multilingua 33 (1-2): 61-87.

Maaike van Naerssen (Leiden University) Explicit efforts of interpersonal alignment in informal interaction: the importance of knowing and showing in Indonesian and Dutch.

Participating in a conversation requires careful management of both the content discussed and the interpersonal relations between those involved. Generally speaking, interlocutors aim to construct and maintain a favorable relationship. In an effort to do so, they coordinate and negotiate their mutual knowledge and stance regarding the topic of talk. This talk focuses on efforts to explicit connect one’s personal stance to someone else’s stance, thus establishing interpersonal alignment. I argue this type of interactional moves present an important source of information when it comes to (norms about) managing interpersonal relationships. As illustrated in the example below, explicit efforts of interpersonal alignment involve some speaker taking stance (here: Ruben) and another participant (Hugo) taking that same position.

(26) “Super Grover” (BB-NL, 20-1)

59        Ruben        ik vond Super Grover ook altijd wel leuk
I always liked Super Grover as well
60        Hugo          ja ik ook
yes me too

Starting from the idea of a stance triangle (DuBois 2007), Ruben is the first subject to present his stance towards the object of talk, in this case a Sesame Street character called Super Grover. Hugo, as the second subject, subsequently presents his stance towards Super Grover and Ruben’s earlier position. He draws a clear connection between their two stances by means of the phrase “me too”. Instead of presenting a full sentence, he simply seconds what Ruben said, adopting his stance as his own position. Here, their stances align: they take a similar position when it comes to Super Grover, they both like the character. In this talk, I discuss different ways of overtly connecting stances using Dutch and Indonesian conversational data. The observed cross-linguistic preferences suggest a stronger (normative) orientation toward explicitly negotiating stance and alignment in Dutch interaction.

Richard W. Hallett (Northeastern Illinois University, USA) Critical and Cultural Discourse Analyses of Tourist Phrasebooks

As Jaworski and Thurlow (2010:258) argue, the expansion of tourism has ‘highlighted the significance of language commodification’. One result of this expansion has been the proliferation of tourist phrasebooks, which, arguably, are ‘transcultural texts’, i.e. ‘writings which help to establish popular understandings of the meanings of other cultures’ (Gilbert 1999:283). In other words, travel phrasebooks reify and reinforce attitudes toward languages other than English (LOTE). In so doing, they perpetuate the hegemonic positioning of the English language in opposition to other languages and their speakers through fractal recursivity and erasure (Irvine and Gal 2000). Tourism and – by extension – phrasebooks respond to tourists’ ‘desire for difference’ (Berger 2011:110; see also Bruner 1995) for something new by ‘transforming the banal into the exotic’ (Jaworksi and Thurlow 2010:256).

This presentation employs Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Cultural Approach to Discourse (CAD) to Lonely Planet’s phrasebooks for multilingual areas of the Global South and Tuttle Publishing’s ‘Making Out’ series of tourist phrasebooks. Drawing on research in the areas of tourism, the sociolinguistics of mobility (Bloomaert 2010), and metrolingualism (Pennycook and Otsuji 2014), this presentation heeds Phillipson’s (2017:313) call for critical scholarship on the ‘conceptual myth-making promoting global English’. Analyses of these phrasebooks reveal a concomitant exoticization and reductionism of LOTE.