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Lecture 5

LINB20H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Language Shift, Speech Community, Mutual Intelligibility

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Safieh Moghaddam

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Lecture 05. Thursday, February 4, 16
Language as a Social Entity (sociology of language)
Sociology of language: study language and how it can affect the society, they treat
language as an social object like art and so on, can be regulated and debated
3 outcomes when an immigrant family moves to another country
1. Retain L1 (old country’s language)
2. Retain L1 + learn L2
3. Lose L1 + learn L2
-To get to stage three it takes at least 1 generation
Language maintenance: continuous use of their ethnic language in a different
speech community
Ethnolinguistic vitality (EV): ability of a speech community to retain their
language, how widely the 1st language is spoken in a new speech community
Institutional support
Ex. Tamil classes on Saturdays
If institutions use the language it helps retain the language
Ex. In Canada, in Markham hospitals have signs in Tamil and Chinese
along with English
Power and prestige of languages
How prestigious is your language in your own eyes and the community you
moved into
How big is your speech community here, size of group
Is there an ethnic neighbourhoods that can help you out
Are people marrying out of your culture
New immigrants coming into the country that speak your language
Community choices
Sometimes it’s the families choice, some people view English as their future
language, so they choose not to retain their first language
How necessary you see language maintenance for your identity
Some people want to fit in the new community so much that they don’t care
to give up their first language
Language shift: replacement of one language (old country’s language with the new
country’s language)
It takes 3 generations for language shift to occur
It is complete with L1 is replaced with L2  Language Death
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