English, being one of the most spoken languages, is a potential contact language for every linguistic community in the world (Mair, 2016). Indeed, contacts occur both in places where it is used natively and in places where it has no official status (Berns, 2005). Today, linguistic interactions may happen for mainly two reasons: because of migration that leads two linguistic groups to tangibly meet, or because of globalisation (Buschfeld, Kautzsch & Schneider, 2018) that allows virtual relations with diverse linguistic realities. In either case, during these encounters, people are forced to “define and redefine themselves” (Schneider, 2007: 28) with a consequent change in their linguistic identity which may even become “bi-multilingual” in certain instances (Forbes et al., 2021). This study wants to examine how the contact with the English language leads to the development of new linguistic identity constructions through the analysis of two different and distant contexts: the Italian American context, in which English is the L1, thus the language that Italian migrants must use at the expense of their native language, which is often their regional dialect (De Fina, 2014), and the Egyptian context in which English is a foreign language, and thus the “language of the others” (Schneider, 2007: 27), used in a country in which there is already a L1 with which speakers highly identify (La Causa, 2022; forthcoming). The main aim is to demonstrate that in both cases language contact is responsible for a reinforcement in the use of the “language of the heart” (Dewaele, 2013: 2) in familiar contexts, but also for an unavoidable influx of English on the speakers’ identity system generating, in certain cases, “hybrid types of identity” (van Rooy & Kruger, 2018: 83-84).

Language contact as responsible for the development of new linguistic identity constructions: the cases of second-generation Italian Americans in the US and of Arabic-English bilinguals in Egypt

la causa lucia
2024-01-01

Abstract

English, being one of the most spoken languages, is a potential contact language for every linguistic community in the world (Mair, 2016). Indeed, contacts occur both in places where it is used natively and in places where it has no official status (Berns, 2005). Today, linguistic interactions may happen for mainly two reasons: because of migration that leads two linguistic groups to tangibly meet, or because of globalisation (Buschfeld, Kautzsch & Schneider, 2018) that allows virtual relations with diverse linguistic realities. In either case, during these encounters, people are forced to “define and redefine themselves” (Schneider, 2007: 28) with a consequent change in their linguistic identity which may even become “bi-multilingual” in certain instances (Forbes et al., 2021). This study wants to examine how the contact with the English language leads to the development of new linguistic identity constructions through the analysis of two different and distant contexts: the Italian American context, in which English is the L1, thus the language that Italian migrants must use at the expense of their native language, which is often their regional dialect (De Fina, 2014), and the Egyptian context in which English is a foreign language, and thus the “language of the others” (Schneider, 2007: 27), used in a country in which there is already a L1 with which speakers highly identify (La Causa, 2022; forthcoming). The main aim is to demonstrate that in both cases language contact is responsible for a reinforcement in the use of the “language of the heart” (Dewaele, 2013: 2) in familiar contexts, but also for an unavoidable influx of English on the speakers’ identity system generating, in certain cases, “hybrid types of identity” (van Rooy & Kruger, 2018: 83-84).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/604191
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