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Abstract

Abstract

While language is clearly an important aspect of (labor) migration, there have not been many contemplations and interrogations, although truly compelling and necessary, on language varieties and their place and position in labor migration and transnational work in the contemporary world, and hence why we intend to do so in this article. In our paradigmatic analysis of language varieties in the context of labor mobilities, we shall take the case of the varieties of English arising from the global spread of the language worldwide as our focal point. The world Englishes paradigm thus greatly informs and substantiates our discussion so we shall first give the principles of this paradigm shift in linguistics begun by Braj Kachru. We subsequently connect world Englishes theorizing to labor migration practices. We shall argue that language is not only integral to the work being done by migrants, but is actually the work in itself. A consequence of this is that there are language varieties and Englishes which fit the work to be done more than others, and, therefore, these varieties and Englishes are becoming commodified as well in labor migration. We shall also take a look at the structural ramifications of labor migration on Englishes, how these new varieties are restructured further as they move from one place to another along with labor migrants. As it will become apparent, our discussion covers the situation of labor migrants in precarity more than the hyper-mobile elites often privileged in migratory contexts. Ultimately, we shall synthesize issues relating to language varieties in the context of transnational work and propose strategies in dealing not only with multilingual but also language-varietal diversity in (labor) migrations and mobilities.

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2024-06-06
2024-06-19
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