Stance and code-switching

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The concept of ‘stance,’ which is the means by which speakers position themselves in terms of the discourse and interlocutor(s), has gained attention in recent sociolinguistic literature. This paper demonstrates the value of using stance as an explicit analytic construct in examining rapid language alternation; in this case, the code-switching of first generation (50+ years) Gaelic-English bilinguals in an extended family on the Isles of Skye and Harris, Scotland. It uses a micro-interactional approach in looking at how code-switching occurs in concert with overt displays of epistemic and affective stance-taking and concludes that speakers use code-switching as a means to explicitly highlight certain stances. It further posits that facets of these interactions, such frequent occurrences of communicative trouble, necessitate the overt reification of particular stances and that to accomplish this task, these bilinguals draw on one of their most powerful communicative strategies: code-switching.


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