Linguistic agency and responsibility in (im-)mobility

Laura Siragusa (University of Helsinki)
Jenanne Ferguson (University of Nevada-Reno)
Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Siragusa
Horsal 11 (F11)
Start time:
17 August, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel tackles mobility from a linguistic-anthropological point of view and places language at the center of our investigation. We invite papers examining what happens to ways of speaking/writing when people remain in their homeland, move away, and/or settle somewhere else.

Long abstract:

This panel introduces a broad linguistic-anthropological perspective to mobility. By using language as a point of departure, we seek to explore the social dynamics of what mobility means for people in terms of language retention, change or loss, as well as the kinds of narratives that are created and circulated by-and through-mobility. In investigating what it means for a language to be 'local,' Alastair Pennycook (2010, 136) proposes seeing language itself as a "geography of linguistic happenings." What does it mean for language to be(come) local, or global? What new meanings does language take on when its speakers move? How are new narratives constructed to make sense of these processes? We hope to examine what happens to ways of speaking/writing when speakers of both indigenous and non-indigenous languages remain in their homeland, move away, and/or settle elsewhere; we also encourage panelists to reflect on how speech and writing events enable language users to distribute responsibility for social mobility and attribute it symbolic value. Some questions to consider are: •How is social mobility manifested in ways of speaking/writing, and typological features of a language (multilingual phenomena)? •How do communication technologies influence linguistic mobility, and affect speaker agency? •What narratives are created regarding mobility and language? What do they tell us about how agency and responsibility are conceived? •What narratives are constructed around mobility and how is agency/responsibility assigned to actors? •To what extent do narratives of mobility affect the categorization of indigenous and non-indigenous people?