Identity Construction among Immigrants and their Descendants in Light of Language Ideologies and Practices: The Case of Izola
(Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana)
Paper short abstract:
The paper explores the relationships among immigrants' and their descendants' ethnic, local, and (trans)national identities and their language identities. It focuses specifically on their language practices, ideologies and other elements used in identity construction in Izola, Slovene Istria.
Paper long abstract:
In the present paper the author explores the relationships among immigrants' and their descendants' ethnic, local, national, and transnational identities and their language identities. It focuses specifically on their language (socio-cultural, indexical) practices and ideologies used in identity construction. The paper deals with immigrants from other republics of former Yugoslavia in the coastal Istrian town of Izola, Slovenia. The coastal, Slovene-Italian bilingual, area of Slovene Istria experienced drastic changes in its ethnic structure due to political and economic migrations after World War II, prominently in the 70's. The field, therefore, represents a linguistically, culturally and ethnically heterogeneous area in which cultural and language contacts act and have been reinforced by new migrations. Groups and individuals (re)produce "sites" of manifold, ambivalent and contradictory language ideologies, emic - but not exclusively - interpretations and discourses, in order to rationalize language use on the basis of social relations. Through the latter the author attempts to shed light on situational identity negotiation practices and on the blurring/maintaining boundaries between languages; language consciousness; ethnic, language and speech communities in various everyday speech situations. Furthermore she looks at ideological "cores" embedded in everyday discourses on/of immigrants' and their descendants' languages, language use and groups. The cores and elements used by the interlocutors include: linguistic indexing of identity; the construct of home; roots; diaspora; "mixed" local/regional identity; (trans)national and ethnic identity; in-betweenness; mixed codes; linguistic purism; (in)correct and proper speech; authenticity; language choice and shift; language acquisition and cultural transmission; heritage; language (sometimes related ethnic) hierarchization; etc.
Language, linguistics, and culture