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Wednesday 13 November, 2019
Last minute changes (if any): See this space
Please note! Mohammed & Roseline are no shows at 15.30.
Session 1a, Room P216
Mats Landqvist, Södertörn University, Sweden (14.00-14.30)
To be included or not - Activist language policies in (Swedish) anti-discriminatory organizations.
LGBTQ, antiracist and disability movements in Sweden have undergone several phases, many of which are reflected in language use in different times and spaces, not least linguistic suggestions from activists. This talk will focus on organizations launching and bringing forward new or altered denomination practices, standards for addressing people and other linguistically relevant issues. Focus lies on norm critical linguistic innovation, aiming at including groups that have previously been named in derogatory ways or not at all. In this analysis I try to relate to prevalent principles within language planning and policy regarding communicative functionality (e.g. plain language). Key concepts for analysis are indexicality (Silverstein 2003) and semiotic spaces (Lotman 1990, 2005, Lotman 2002), applied to innovations in language use, distributed across the public sphere. Of special interests are linguistic practices carrying meaning that aligns with current goals and attitudes within the three anti-discriminatory movements in Sweden, both in the core of semiospheres, i.e. in the center of policy making, as well as in the periphery, e.g. among the common members and in public debate, where objections to norm critical linguistic practices sometimes are raised.
GREGOR KWEIK, HANINGE MUNICIPALITY, SWEDEN (14:30-15:00)
National Minority Laws In Sweden and Why We Have Them.
According to the law on national minorities and minority languages in Sweden, the Language Act (2009: 600) states that public bodies have a specific responsibility to protect and promote national minority languages. Numerous public bodies assume that this law is satisfied when they make a national minority language “available”. Some municipalities for example may translate parts of their website into the Romani language, or may simply assume that they satisfy the law by announcing in written form that national minorities have a right to mother tongue instruction in their language. Such efforts to satisfy the national minority laws in Sweden are far from the concept of promotion and protection. In fact the fundamental act of protection in Swedish national minority law states the following:
• You have the right to information about the minority law and your rights.
• You have the right to protection and support to preserve and develop your national minority language and your culture.
• You as a child have the right to use their own minority language and develop your cultural identity.
• You have the right to influence in issues pertaining to you.
As of January 1, 2019, the Swedish government strengthened its national minority laws and now requires municipalities to seek council with national minority representatives and to have guideline documents that will ensure that the national minorities will be afforded their rights.
A key component to the implementation of national minority protection’s act rests in the Swedish school curriculum that requires all students and school staff have knowledge of Sweden’s national minorities.
The process of implementation has been a slow one and many civil servants do not understand why certain things are required of them when it comes to the national minority legislation. For this reason, I will use my own schooling experience, in Sweden and the United States, in order to paint a picture as to why this legislation is of relevance for implementation.
Session 1b, Room P218
Language & Gender
Fatemah Alsaffar, Public Authority of Applied Ed. and Technology, Kuwait (14:00-14:30)
Students Using Politeness in Their English Written Email Requests to Professors
This research focuses on Arab University students’ email requests to their professors and how they apply politeness strategies, cross-cultural pragmatic errors and how they formulate low and high imposition requests to their professors. Many studies have shown that students are unaware of pragmatic differences and politeness strategies used in email requests. Although the nature of email writing allows the sender to edit for grammar, spelling, pragmatic clarity and politeness, Arab students still show the lack of pragmatic and linguistic knowledge through their emails.
This study examines 36 natural email requests sent by 18 male and 18 female undergraduate students to their professors in Kuwait University. The emails were collected to investigate the politeness strategies used based on Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory, and whether those strategies are applied differently by gender. Cross-cultural pragmatic errors were also analysed based on Olshtain and Cohen’s (1984) model for pragmatic error to reveal how Arab students transfer their L1 knowledge in the target language. Moreover, the study obtained 20 sample of DCT to investigate the level of directness used in a low and high imposition requests applying Blum-Kulka et al.’s (1989) speech act framework. The results show that in general students applied negative politeness strategy in most of their emails followed by an over-politeness strategy that is considered to be cultural related. There have been insignificant differences in both males and females’ application in all strategies. The results also reveal that students lack pragmatic knowledge by using direct translation in most of their emails. Nevertheless, students tend to be more direct in the low imposition request and more conventionally indirect in the high imposition request; no students were found to use non-conventionally indirect strategy. The study shows that students are highly influenced by their cultural norms and therefore should have pragmatic awareness by receiving explicit instructions on email writing rules once they enter the university.
Daniel Sunderland, Polish Academy of Sciences, University of Warsaw, Poland (14:30-15:00)
Robust Knights and Brittle Princesses: Gender Stereotypes in Textbooks on Biology and Related School Subjects
My doctoral project concerns metaphors used by authors of textbooks on biology, nature, and related school subjects to describe the process of insemination. A linguistic analysis of selected fragments seeks to address the question whether authors of textbooks approved for school use by the Polish Ministry of National Education replicate stereotypes about women and men, describing the fusion of their gametes. The key hypotheses can be summarised in two bullet points:
— Descriptions of the heterosexual intercourse in colloquial speech and school textbooks are similar when it comes to the point of view from which the act in question is characterised;
— Stereotypes about men and women are transcribed onto their reproductive cells (as evidenced by the order of presentation of the male and female reproductive system, introductory remarks on the fertilisation, and the conceptualisation of engagement of the sperm and the egg in this process).
The pattern for this analysis has been established by Emily Martin in her article “The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male—Female Roles.”
In the first of a series of talks, delivered in Ostrava in March this year, I was discussing methodological aspects of the project. Through its lens, I looked at methods from various areas of linguistics (such as semantics, pragmatics, and stylistics), sociology, and anthropology that I have either accepted or rejected to determine how they work in practice. In Örebro, I would like to discuss the results I have achieved to date as well as problems arising from confronting Martin’s findings with the material derived from Polish textbooks.
Session 2a, P216
Language & Education
Gaillynn Clements, Duke University, US (15:30-16:00)
Linguistic Discrimination on University Campuses
Universities have made strides in diversifying student bodies in the United States. Tolerance and diversity of body types, gender identity, race, religion, and more are celebrated and expected in modern university settings. Yet, this tolerance does not always extend to the variety of speech ways heard in university hallways and student lounges. Many feel that academics’ usual progressive stance allows them to rise above prejudice, even linguistic discrimination; in actuality, many professors succumb to the same prejudices. Recent events, such as January 2019’s Duke professors and a graduate administrator warning students about speaking Chinese in student lounges, and studies such as Horton 2017 (tensions in attitudes toward African-American English in writing), Myrick 2019 (gendered language discrimination among students and professors), Higgins 2019 (Hawai’i Creole prejudices at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa), and Wolfram 2019 (academic prejudice of dialectal speakers) attest that language prejudice impacts many on university campuses in the United States. In addition to more native speakers of ‘non-standard’ English varieties attending university, the number of international students studying in the U.S. continues to rise (https://www.iie.org/Why-IIE/Announcements/2018/11/2018-11-13-Number-of-International-Students-Reaches-New-High), linguistic prejudice affects students and their future opportunities.
For this presentation, I analyzed students’ survey responses two university courses: Introduction to Linguistics and Language in Society. The survey inquired about the contexts of any linguistic discrimination they may have witnessed or been part of while on campus. Preliminary results show that students see and participate in situations where they are the objects of language and dialect discrimination from professors. The discrimination reported is due to differences in speech along lines of gender, social class, ethnicity/race, and region. Lastly, I report on discussions within these classes: What students see as linguistic discrimination and their ideas to bring awareness and changes to student and faculty experiences. Analyzing incidents will help to create programmatic initiatives within departments and universities.
Dozie Ugbaja, University of Hertfordshire, UK (16:00-16:30)
Accent Bias in International Higher Education
The internationalisation of Education is gradually gaining grounds in theory and by certain implementations these days. Just like other organisations and business ventures are spreading their tentacles beyond national boundaries and operations, educational systems are making their internationalisation strides too. Nevertheless, these internationalisation agendas come with certain challenges.
One of the challenges of International Higher Education is found in the accommodation to differences which amongst other things include adaptation to linguistic variations. Although the English language appears to be a major lingua franca in use in international educational settings, the varieties in accents seem to be a major issue even to major stakeholders. The way some non-native accents are perceived can be largely considered ‘anti-internationalisation’. This is because there are still certain ‘standard’ expectations which are condescending of some others.
As a part of considerations on the issue of accent bias in international Higher Education, data was partly gathered from international student participants on their orientation towards non-native English accents in English speaking countries. The results show that irrespective of the internationalisation propagandas aimed at fostering international inclusiveness and acceptance, there are still negative prejudices towards non-native accents and a preference for native ones especially by some groups of international students. Certain recommendations aimed at preventing this marginalisation of non-native accents have been proffered.
Viivi Mäkinen, Karmela Liebkind, University of Helsinki, Finland (16:30-17:00)
Developing and accessing a vicarious contact school intervention aiming at prejudice-reduction through first-person narratives of intergroup friendship.
This presentation outlines the research on the effectiveness and development of the “Stories about friendship” school intervention program. In this vicarious contact intervention, the method of behavioral journalism is utilized by using written first-person narratives of intergroup friendship told by peer models of the same age. Through these stories, adolescents observe positive cross-group interaction vicariously without personally engaging in intergroup contact.
The findings from three field experiments conducted in school settings in Finland (studies I, II, and III) and one comparative field experiment conducted in Finland, Italy and Slovakia (study IV) are summarized in this presentation. Even though no direct intervention effects on outgroup attitudes were obtained, the results indicated that perceived prototypicality of the narrators contributed positively to the effectiveness of the friendship stories (study I). Among majority students the intervention was most effective for girls whose attitudes before the intervention were negative rather than positive (study II). Among minority students the intervention had a positive effect on the perception of outgroup norms, i.e., social norms on intergroup contact prevailing in the national majority group (study III). Furthermore, the students’ perceptions of the facilitator’s engagement in the intervention contributed positively to intervention effects, as participants who perceived the facilitator to be highly engaged held more positive outgroup attitudes after the intervention than those perceiving the facilitator to be less engaged (study IV).
The results call for critically assessing the effectiveness of interventions and for giving recommendations for the development of future prejudice-reduction interventions. In order to respond to the need for the practical implementation of scientific knowledge for improving intergroup relations, future research should explore more for whom, conducted by whom, and under what conditions prejudice-reduction interventions are most effective.
Session 2b, P218
AYAN GHOSH, UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA, INDIA (15:30-16:00)
MULTILINGUALISM AND INDIA: A POLITICAL DICHOTOMY
INDIA IS THE COUNTRY OF LANGUAGES AND CULTURES, WHERE ALMOST ALL 1652 MOTHER TONGUES EXIST (1962 CENSUS) AND TWENTY-TWO SCHEDULED LANGUAGES ARE THERE TO SERVE 1.3 BILLION RESIDENTS OF THIS SUBCONTINENT AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE. THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF LANGUAGES OF THE NATION HAVE FALLEN IN THE FOUR MAJOR LANGUAGE FAMILIES AND THOSE FAMILIES ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER IN TERMS OF MORPHOLOGY AND PHONOLOGY. THAT MEANS DIFFERENCES ARE THERE FROM THE VERY ROOTS OF OUR LANGUAGES. BEING A MULTILINGUAL COUNTRY, THE PROBLEM OF LINGUA-FRANCA WOULD BE THE PRIMARY ONE. AND WHEN THIS ‘COMMON LANGUAGE’ COMES, THE WORD HEGEMONY FALLS INTO PLACE ALONG WITH THE CONCEPT OF LINGUISTIC MAJORITY AND MINORITY.
AFTER THE INDEPENDENCE, INDIA GOT ITS SHAPE FROM THE LANGUAGE DIVERSITY, STATES STARTED TO FORM ACCORDING TO THE LANGUAGES WHICH WERE SPOKEN IN THAT REGION. AND FROM THE VERY SCRATCH, PROBLEMS STARTED AS MANY OF THE STATES WEREN’T READY TO ACCEPT HINDI AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA. BESIDE THE HINDI LANGUAGE, ENGLISH WAS THERE TO SERVE AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE BUT ONLY FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS. PEOPLE DID NOT ACCEPT THAT PROPOSAL AND FOUGHT AGAINST THAT DECISION.
THIS PAPER SEEKS TO UNDERSTAND THE CURRENT SCENARIO OF THE COUNTRY BASED ON LINGUISTIC HEGEMONY. AFTER SO MANY AGITATIONS AND SET UP OF LANGUAGE COMMISSIONS, HOW THE COUNTRY LIKE INDIA HOLDS ITS MULTILINGUAL STATUS, WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THESE KIND OF AGITATIONS FOR KEEPING INTACT THE LANGUAGE DIVERSITY AND STOPPING THIS COUNTRY FROM BEING MONOLINGUAL AND EQUALLY MONO-CULTURAL. THIS ARTICLE WOULD ALSO TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW WITH THE NEW LANGUAGE POLICIES AND DECISIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT, STATES ALREADY GOT BIFURCATED OR WHY THEY ARE IN THE PROCESS OF BIFURCATION. SO, IN LONG AND SHORT THIS RESEARCH PAPER WILL TRY TO LOCATE LANGUAGE POLITICS IN THE MIDST OF POLITICS AS A WHOLE IN INDIA.