The CUNY Sociolinguistics Lunch is a series of talks on sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics given by students, faculty, and visiting scholars usually from local institutions.
The talks are held 2-4 p.m. at the Graduate Center on three Fridays per semester. The format includes ample time for discussion, and so it is an excellent venue for presenting on-going research or research in preparation for publication. All are welcome.
Students and faculty of the Linguistics Program are welcome to present their work at the Sociolinguistics Lunch. For more information or to suggest a speaker contact Cecelia Cutler, Michael Newman or Miki Makihara.
Sociolinguists Lunch with James Walker
James Walker is Professor of Linguistics at York University
“The Sociolinguistic Consequences of Ethnolinguistic Diversity”
North American cities have always been characterized by immigration, but recent global population movement has increased the diversity of cities that were formerly more ethnolinguistically homogeneous. In some cities, the shift to the majority language is mitigated by ‘ethnic enclaves’, which promote minority-language maintenance and may lead to the development of ethnically marked ways of speaking (‘ethnolects’). This talk reports on an ongoing research project examining the sociolinguistic consequences of increasing ethnolinguistic diversity for the English spoken in Toronto, Canada’s largest city. Comparing speakers of different ethnic backgrounds across generations and by their responses to an ethnic orientation questionnaire, we analyze the quantitative patterning of a number of phonetic and grammatical features. Our results suggest that ethnolects do not reflect the effects of language transfer, which do not persist beyond the first generation, but that second-/third-generation speakers may use features at different rates to express their ethnic identity. Since the linguistic conditioning of features is largely parallel across all younger speakers, regardless of ethnic background and degree of ethnic orientation, we suggest that they all share the same linguistic system.
The talk will be followed by a reception in the Linguistics Department. All are welcome.