Anxiety, Insecurity, and Border Crossing: Language Contact in a Globalizing World
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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This commentary responds to papers in a special issue on “Anxiety, Insecurity, and Border Crossing: Language Contact in a Globalizing World.” The discussion considers how anxiety emerges as transnational subjects seek semiotic stability in the global economy’s shifting terrain of indexical relations. Although contact zones informed by neoliberalism valorize linguistic flexibility, they also hierarchize certain kinds of communicative competence as more flexible than others. When linguistic practice is divorced from its temporal and spatial roots, it is readily essentialized as indexical of particular kinds of personhood, only some of which are viewed as appropriately global. The ambiguity of what counts as linguistic capital in the global economy leads speakers to defend their behaviors through appeals to authenticity, often confirming the very ideology that positions them as linguistically inflexible.


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