Audience design in interaction: studies on urban adolescent spoken languages

Sammanfattning: Speakers of a language carry with them a set of language ideologies, i.e. beliefs about norms and rules in relation to that language. One such ideology is a standard language ideology, which is generally associated with prescriptive beliefs connected to linguistic standardness and correctness. A speaker’s understanding of language ideologies can affect their speech style. The speech style of a given speaker at a given time is further affected by a number of factors surrounding the setting of the speech situation in question, including the topic of conversation, the physical surroundings and the audience (known as audience design). Those audience members who are not present in a given speech situation are known as referees. In this compilation thesis, urban adolescent language in Sweden is studied from a number of angles, with the overarching assumption that speech style is designed with a specific audience in mind, and within the frame of those language ideologies available to the speaker. The data used in the studies included is mostly interactional, taken from a corpus of 111 adolescents in Stockholm and Gothenburg, interacting in interviews with a researcher, and in map-tasks with a self-selected peer. Further data has been collected through online questionnaires, one targeting 80 teachers of English as a foreign language, and one perception experiment asking 180 listeners to consider the pragmatic functions and the language spoken in utterances of the word OK. The first study examines how the map-task can be used as a tool for sociolinguistic data collection, analysing the resulting interactions using audience design, and interviewing participants as to their experiences. The second study considers the language ideologies of teachers through questions concerning their own and their pupils’ use of varieties of English, and their views on the same. The third study uses self-assessments of language proficiencies in order to get at adolescents’ standard language ideologies, and their use of referees as audience when considering their own proficiencies. The fourth and fifth studies use specific utterances of the word OK from the map-task recordings in order to examine connections between pragmatic and phonetic (segmental and prosodic) information in utterance in-and-out-of-context to language spoken and speaker role. Together, these studies explore ways in which audience design and language ideology interact and are manifested in different aspects of language.

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