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Chapter 7. On the relation between linguistic and social factors in migrant language contact

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Abstract

With a rich migration history, the Australian context has provided a fascinating and fertile landscape through which to explore the patterns of linguistic and sociolinguistic variation which arise when languages and cultures are transplanted from earlier, often bilingual, environments to a new English-dominant one. Drawing on extensive research undertaken in the Australian context, this chapter explores a range of linguistic and sociolinguistic features relevant to understanding language contact in a migrant setting, including facilitation of code-switching; pragmatic effects, such as the use of modal particles and discourse markers and address patterns; standardization and codification; pluricentric languages; diglossia and the role of language as a core value. In a number of cases it considers the relative role of and possible interaction between linguistic and social (and cultural) factors in governing language phenomena in Australia. In addition to the possible effect of the linguistic characteristics of specific migrant languages, we also look at the effect of the pre- and post-migration sociolinguistic and cultural contexts and how these might explain patterns of bilingual behaviour and language maintenance in Australia.

References

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