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High proficiency in markets of performance a sociocultural approach to nativelikeness
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
2012 (English)In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 321-345Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

High-proficiency second language (L2) learners challenge much theory and methodology in contemporary sociolinguistic and L2 acquisition research, which suggests the need for honest interdisciplinarity when working in the interstices of style, stylization, and advanced acquisition processes. When to consider fluent and highly competent speakers of a language to be language learners in ways relevant to SLA theory is a fraught and contentious issue. This study suggests that highly fluent multilinguals provide key data on notions of nativelikeness and near-nativelikeness that are of value for understanding processes of acquisition and use. It suggests that relative judgments of nativelikeness are interactionally accomplished (membership) categorizations made on the basis of specific linguistic features relative to particular linguistic markets. The data for the study are taken from a unique population-namely, young people from multilingual family backgrounds, born and raised in Sweden, all of whom ethnically self-identify as Assyrian-Syrian but whose repertoires are complexly multilingual. All participants are generally perceived to be native speakers of Swedish on a daily basis. Nevertheless, at certain moments, these young people are reclassified as near-native or native-like. The study analyzes their narrative accounts of metalinguistic reflexivity from occasions and interactional moments when they are classified as nonstandard speakers and, therefore, near-natives or learners. The findings suggest the necessity of revisiting notions of nativelikeness and account for the phenomenon in terms of register, voice, and identity relative to different symbolic and linguistic markets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 34, no 2, p. 321-345
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79789DOI: 10.1017/S0272263112000071ISI: 000304015700007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-79789DiVA, id: diva2:551597
Note

AuthorCount:2;

Available from: 2012-09-11 Created: 2012-09-11 Last updated: 2022-02-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Språk, diaspora, makt: Flerspråkiga resurser och diasporaidentiteter bland unga vuxna i Sverige
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Språk, diaspora, makt: Flerspråkiga resurser och diasporaidentiteter bland unga vuxna i Sverige
2020 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Language, diaspora, power : Multilingual resources and diaspora identities among young adults in Sweden
Abstract [en]

Based on three separate studies, this thesis explores diaspora identities among young adult Assyrians/Syrians in Sweden, mediated through language. The focus is on how multilingual young adults use their languages and reflect on their use of language. The young adults’ experiences of, and perceptions of, languages are studied in two different socio-geographic locations in Sweden. The theoretical concepts applied in this thesis pave the way for nuanced conceptions of diaspora. Foucault’s understandings of concepts such as resistance, power and discourse have been applied, as have Bourdieu’s notions of field, capital and habitus. With these concepts, the thesis investigates and highlights subject positions and power relations that emerged in the young adults’ language practices and meta-reflections on their use of language. Furthermore, concepts from linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics have been applied as important complements to Bourdieu and Foucault. This theoretical and conceptual combination clarifies how the young adults’ perceived linguistic opportunities and limitations are closely linked to status and power, habitus and language ideologies. Study I deals with the construction and positioning of native and non-native speaker of a language and illuminates ideological beliefs that come with language. Highly fluent multilinguals provide key data on notions of nativelikeness and near-nativelikeness that are of value for understanding processes of acquisition and use. The study shows that relative judgments of nativelikeness are interactionally accomplished (membership) categorizations made on the basis of specific linguistic features relative to particular linguistic markets. This suggests the necessity of revisiting notions of nativelikeness and account for the phenomenon in terms of register, voice, and identity relative to different symbolic and linguistic markets. Study II examines under what conditions the minority language Suryoyo can be connected to symbolic power and become linguistic capital for young Assyrian/Syrian adults. Fieldwork in two different socio-geographic places made it possible to identify some general tendencies in the data. In order to understand the complexity of linguistic and social strategies that are developed among the young adults two notions are introduced, peripheral centre and context-specific repertoire, that combine individual- and space bound repertoires. Study III, finally, deals with social categorization experienced, reproduced, and resisted in everyday life, by observing and analyzing an interaction between one of the participants and his classmates. By applying intersectionality as the key notion in the analysis, the study indicates that valued capitals are never just about one single category. The study shows how everyday linguistic and cultural practices and various forms of capital, such as ethnicity and language, together locate individuals, according to their representations of everyday encounters across difference. In conclusion, the present thesis provides insight into the circumstances under which different languages are used and developed, and make visible some of the conditions for integration in today’s Swedish society. Thereby, it contributes to increasing our knowledge of the relationships between language, diaspora and power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet, Stockholms universitet, 2020. p. 71
Series
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 30
Keywords
multilingualism, young adults, language ideology, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, diaspora, power, habitus, identities
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-185219 (URN)978-91-7911-300-1 (ISBN)978-91-7911-301-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-11-23, online via Zoom. Zoom-länken kommer att publiceras före disputationen på https://www.su.se/svefler/, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-10-29 Created: 2020-09-18 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Eliaso Magnusson, JosefinaStroud, Christopher

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