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The (near) absence of English in Flemish dinner table conversations

The (near) absence of English in Flemish dinner table conversations AbstractThis paper studies the low frequency of English insertions in child-directed speech in eight Flemish families, which is striking considering the strong position of English in other domains in Flanders. Crossing usage-based approaches to language acquisition and language socialization research, we scrutinize our corpus of dinner table conversations that consist of over 25,000 utterances, complemented by sociolinguistic interviews with the caregivers of each family. After mining our corpus for English insertions, we present a quantitative exploration that reveals how less than 1% of the utterances per family contain English insertions. Assessing whether this result can be interpreted as parents’ attempts to socialize their children towards Dutch, and what this reveals about their language regards, we analyze selected fragments through multimodal discourse analysis. After discussing possible implications of these findings for the position of English in Flanders, we additionally discuss them against the theoretical background of developmental sociolinguistics, and against the methodological background of working with small samples and negative evidence in a usage-based approach (see e.g. negative entrenchment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Review de Gruyter

The (near) absence of English in Flemish dinner table conversations

Applied Linguistics Review , Volume 12 (2): 32 – Jun 25, 2021

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1868-6303
eISSN
1868-6311
DOI
10.1515/applirev-2019-0029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis paper studies the low frequency of English insertions in child-directed speech in eight Flemish families, which is striking considering the strong position of English in other domains in Flanders. Crossing usage-based approaches to language acquisition and language socialization research, we scrutinize our corpus of dinner table conversations that consist of over 25,000 utterances, complemented by sociolinguistic interviews with the caregivers of each family. After mining our corpus for English insertions, we present a quantitative exploration that reveals how less than 1% of the utterances per family contain English insertions. Assessing whether this result can be interpreted as parents’ attempts to socialize their children towards Dutch, and what this reveals about their language regards, we analyze selected fragments through multimodal discourse analysis. After discussing possible implications of these findings for the position of English in Flanders, we additionally discuss them against the theoretical background of developmental sociolinguistics, and against the methodological background of working with small samples and negative evidence in a usage-based approach (see e.g. negative entrenchment.

Journal

Applied Linguistics Reviewde Gruyter

Published: Jun 25, 2021

Keywords: child-directed speech; socialization; language contact; Dutch; negative evidence

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