Language, Culture and Identity An Ethnolinguistic Perspective

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-08-23
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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How language shapes and is shaped by identity is a key topic within sociolinguistics. An individual's identity is constituted through a variety of different factors, including the social, cultural and ethnic contexts, and issues such as bi- or multilingualism. In this introduction to Language, Culture and Identity Philip Riley looks at these issues against the theoretical background of the sociology of knowledge, and ethnolinguistics. He asks; how do we learn who we are, and what are the mechanisms that teach us this? Through an analysis of the importance of culture and interpersonal communication, Riley shows how social identities are negotiated. The second half of the book looks at issues of ethnicity and bilingualism, and the importance of a series of oppositions to 'others'. The idea of 'the foreigner' is central to this account, yet traditional views of the role of being socially 'other' largely neglect the role of language. Riley bridges this gap by examining specific and problematic aspects of multilingual identities. The book concludes by looking at some of the ways in which identities are being reconfigured, with particular reference to the notions of 'ethos' and the 'communicative virtues'. This engaging analysis of language and social identity will be essential reading for students of sociolinguistics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Author Biography

Philip Riley is Emeritus Professor of Ethnolinguistics at Nancy University, France

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. viii
Introductionp. 1
Theoretical and historical backgroundp. 3
The sociology of knowledgep. 3
Ethnolinguisticsp. 8
The social knowledge systemp. 21
Notes on the concept of culturep. 21
Structures and functions of the social knowledge systemp. 30
The social learning processp. 32
'Culture' as knowledge: cultural markersp. 39
Knowledge, identity and competencep. 52
Identityp. 69
Identity studies: some issues and approachesp. 69
Social identity: you are what you knowp. 86
Communicative practices, roles and actsp. 92
Membershipping strategies, phatic communion and greetingsp. 113
Membershipping strategiesp. 113
Phatic communion and greetingsp. 124
Rearing practicesp. 133
The Strangerp. 161
The Stranger: a social typep. 161
Anomie, recognition and citizenshipp. 173
Pragmatic failurep. 189
Compensation strategiesp. 200
Reconfiguring identitiesp. 213
Ethos and the communicative virtuesp. 213
Ethosp. 213
The communicative virtuesp. 215
Negotiating identities in intercultural service encountersp. 219
Forging identitiesp. 229
Standardization and scaffoldingp. 234
Standardizationp. 234
Scaffoldingp. 239
Conclusionp. 243
Referencesp. 245
Indexp. 259
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