This reading group met in spring 2020.

Update: We are convening intermittently in the summer via Zoom. Contact Dr. Suzanne Evans Wagner, if you’d like to join.

Meets: Thursdays, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, B-411 Wells Hall, spring 2020 (via Zoom from 3/19)

Goals of the group:

  • Serve the needs of current Linguistics graduate students whose qualifying paper or dissertation topics touch on ethnolinguistic variation.
  • Get a broad overview of how ‘ethnicity’ has been operationalized in social science and in sociolinguistics since the mid-20th century, in the US and beyond.
  • Be familiar with landmark studies of ethnicity in variationist sociolinguistics.
  • Gain some exposure to the most recent sociolinguistic research on ethnolinguistic variation.
  • Understand how sociolinguistic studies of ethnicity connect to broader social and political movements, especially with regard to social justice.
  • Appreciate the intersectional nature of ethnicity i.e. how it is complicated by gender, social class and other social characteristics.
  • Get a sense of how these papers link to each other, as well as to other scholarship.

Who: The group includes graduate students, staff, alumni and faculty from Linguistics, Second Language Studies, Spanish, German and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures (WRAC), MSU Libraries, and the Fulbright Language Teaching Program, and from Australia National University. We’re from the USA, Ghana, Tanzania, China, Britain, Nigeria, Australia and Germany, representing majority and minority ethnicities from those countries. We do research on ethnic groups in the USA (Arab Americans, Cuban Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, African Americans, self-identified biracial), in China (Uighurs), in Germany (right-wing ideology and nationalism), in Sierra Leone (Mende speakers), Ghana (Akan and multilingualism), Nigeria (northern Nigeria), in Britain (Pakistani British), and in Australia (Greek and Italian-heritage English in Sydney).

What we’re reading:

  • Jan 16.
    • Ritzer, George & J. Paul Ryan. 2011. Entries for Ethnicity and Race. The Concise Encylopedia of Sociology. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Jan 23.
    • Irvine, Judith T & Susan Gal. 2000. Language ideology and linguistic differentiation. In Paul Kroskrity (ed.), Regimes of language: Ideologies, polities and identities, 35–84. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.
  • Jan 30.
    • Bekker, Ian & Erez Levon. 2020. Parodies of whiteness: Die Antwoord and the politics of race, gender, and class in South Africa. Language in Society 1–33. doi: 10.1017/S0047404519000630.
  • Feb 6.
    • Holliday, Nicole. 2019. Multiracial identity and racial complexity in sociolinguistic variation. Language and Linguistics Compass 13: e12345. doi: 10.1111/lnc3.12345
  • Feb 13.
  • Feb 20.
    • Benor, Sarah Bunin. 2020. Ethnolinguistic repertoire: Shifting the analytic focus in language and ethnicity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14: 159-183. doi: 10.111/j.1467-9841.2010.00440.x
  • Feb 21.
  • Feb 27.
    • Nuworsu, Anastasia, Grace Diabah and Evershed Kwasi Amuzu. 2019. “Look at me, hwɛ ha, ofainɛ kwɛmɔ biɛ aha mi fioo!!”: Code-switching at inter-ethnic traditional marriage ceremonies in southern Ghana. Multilingua 38: 283-211. doi: 01.515/multi-2017-0097.
  • March 6.
    • NO MEETING: Spring Break.
  • March 12.
  • March 19.
    • Gyasi, O. Samuel and Adegbija, Efurosibina. 1999. Sub-Saharan Africa. In Fishman, J. A. (Ed.), Handbook of language and ethnic identity, 353-368. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • March 23.
    • Hoffman, M., & Walker, J. 2010. Ethnolects and the city: Ethnic orientation and linguistic variation in Toronto EnglishLanguage Variation and Change 22: 37-67. doi: 10.1017/S0954394509990238
  • April 3.
    • Alim, H. S. 2016. Introducing raciolinguistics: Racing language and languaging race in hyperracial times. In H. S. Alim, J. R. Rickford & A. F. Ball (eds.),  Raciolinguistics: How language shapes our ideas about race (pp. 1-30). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
    • Alim, H. S. 2016. Who’s afraid of the transracial subject? Raciolinguistics and the political project of transracialization. In H. S. Alim, J. R. Rickford & A. F. Ball (eds.),  Raciolinguistics: How language shapes our ideas about race (pp. 33-50). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • April 9.
    • McCafferty, Kevin. 1998. Shared accents, divided speech community? Change in Northern Ireland English. Language Variation and Change 10(2). 97–121. doi:  10.1017/S0954394500001253
  • April 16.
    • Sharma, Devyani. 2016. Changing ethnicities: The evolving speech styles of Punjabi Londoners. In H. S. Alim, J. R. Rickford, & A. F. Ball (eds.), Raciolinguistics: how language shapes our ideas about race (pp. 221–240). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • May 7.
    • Sneller, Betsy. (EarlyView). Phonological rule spreading across hostile lines: (TH)-fronting in Philadelphia. Language Variation and Change. 1–23. doi: 10.1017/S0954394519000140.
  • June 4.
    • Rickford, John R & Sharese King. 2016. Language and linguistics on trial: Hearing Rachel Jeantel (and other vernacular speakers) in the courtroom and beyond. Language 92(4). 948–988. doi: 10.1353/lan.2016.0078 #blacklivesmatter
  • June 11.
    • 4pm start. No reading. Discuss and list concrete actions that language academics can take in this moment, in our professional spaces. #blacklivesmatter
  • July 2.
    • 5pm start. No reading. Elena Sheard (Australia National University) will present on her dissertation work, a sub-project of Sydney Speaks, on the English of Anglo-, Greek- and Italian-Australians.

Readings are chosen by group members for presentation by individual members each week.