2:15 pm -
3:45 pm
Raum 415, Hausvogteiplatz

Jeff Good – The social meanings of language choice in small-scale multilingual settings

Colloquium talk by Prof. Jeff Good (University at Buffalo)

In recent years, linguists working on underdocumented languages have been paying greater attention to endangered practices of small-scale multilingualism, which is understood as the patterns of multilingualism found in small-scale societies where individuals primarily interact with other individuals that they already know. Based on existing case studies, the relationship between identity, context, and language choice shows interesting patterns of variation in these settings, and, in at least one relatively well-studied case of language choice in the Lower Fungom region of the Cameroonian Grassfields, code switching among local languages appears to have a comparable function to the use of different registers in large-scale societies. This talk will present an overview of what is presently known about language choice in small-scale contexts with an emphasis on ways in which it overlaps conceptually with the notion of register.