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Diglossia and Bilingualism

Diglossia and Bilingualism

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Diglossia and Bilingualism

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  1. Diglossia and Bilingualism

  2. Language Contact Reviewed • Pidgins • Language Shift • Lingua Franca • Both Languages survive: Code-mixing, Diglossia and Bilingualism

  3. Language Choice • Frederick the Great of Prussia (Germany) • “I speak _____________ to my ambassadors • _________ to my accountant • _________ to God • _________ to my mistress • and German to my ___________

  4. continued • Many people have an extensive linguistic repertoire • Zuleikha is a 40 year Malay housewife who uses Terengganu Malay (?) , Standard Malay (?), Standard Malaysian English (?), Cantonese and Classical Arabic

  5. continued • What language does she use when talking to God, spouse, relatives in Selangor or TGU, children, spouse (American), vegetable seller, doctor, office staff (private or govt.), friends ? • Why?

  6. Domains • Many people speak several languages, dialects or accents • Different varieties used in different situations (domains) • School, business, work, crime, worship, family • Often strictly segregated

  7. Diglossia (languages, dialects, accents) • Paraguay • Spanish for higher education, official business, religion – 60% • Guarani (or another indigenous language) for family activities, humour, fighting – 90% • Many people speak both – 50% • The elite and the poor and remote are monolingual

  8. continued • But 2 codes are not mixed • Guarani has official status but largely symbolic • Communicative competence requires knowing when to use the right code • Not to know one could be a serious disadvantage

  9. Continued • Nigeria (south) – English used in school and for ceremonial occasions – even if everyone understands Igbo or another language • London – exaggerated local accent + taboo words for football chants/songs – not used in other domains • England and Europe - local dialects in writing/drama/song nearly always humorous or literary

  10. Theory of Diglossia • Ferguson 1960s • Everybody speaks two languages or dialects • Used in different situations • Not mixed • Codes may be distinct languages (South America,) or related (Indonesia) • or dialects (Malaysia) • Or ? (SW Asia & N Africa

  11. continued • Standard German and Swiss German • German and Hungarian in Oberwart • Hindi and northern Indian languages • Pilipino and other languages • English and Bantu languages in S Africa

  12. continued • Cantonese and Mandarin in Singapore • French and Haitian Patois • English and Jamaican Creole • English and French in 12th century England (why do sheep, cows and deer become mutton, beef and venison when they are dead and cooked? Why is fish always fish?)

  13. High and Low varieties • High (H) and Low (L) varieties may be language or dialect • May have different lexis, syntax, morphology, and/or phonology • Have different status • Are not mixed • Return to examples – which are H and L

  14. continued • Low variety has low status, people deny using it, existence denied, not written, not seen as a proper language • High variety has high status, seen as real language, may have religious or cultural significance, written with grammar and dictionaries

  15. Problems with diglossia • Diglossia sometimes an inadequate concept • May be a continuum – Malay dialects -- Standard Malay – post creole continua in Carribean, post-pidgin continua in West Africa • Competing high varieties – French and Classical Arabic in Tunisia • Conflict in Norway and Greece (Dhimotiki vs Katharevousa – 1901 riots, D – official after 1974)

  16. continued • Complementary high varieties – Standard Irish and Standard Hiberno-English in Ireland • Standard Welsh and Standard English (School English) in Wales • Triglossia – intermediate varieties between H and L varieties – Modern Standard Arabic

  17. Origins of Diglossia • Conquest – but not population replacement or language shift – South America and Algeria • Fixing of written, H variety – SWANA • Rise of H varieties – unification of separate states or independence – Northern Nigeria, Malaysia, Tanzania

  18. Features of diglossic society • Limited education • High level of social and economic inequality • Limited social mobility • Pronounced ethnic differences (sometimes) • Recent national unity (sometimes)

  19. Bilingualism • Many people speak more than one language • But no separation of domains – equal status • French and English in Canada • German minority in Belgium • Smaller languages in Africa and Australia • Sometimes unstable – prelude to language shift may persist for centuries -- India

  20. continued • Continuum between diglossia and bilingualism • Quebec went from partial diglossia in 1960s to partial bilingualism • No cognitive disadvantages to bilingualism – possibly some advantages • In some cases – Canada, Singapore, Wales, USA in future ? – elite is bilingual