Lingoing, language labels and metrolingual practices

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Applied Linguistics Review, 2016, 7 (3), pp. 259 - 277
Issue Date:
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There is a potential tension between the descriptions of language use by contemporary sociolinguistic researchers keen to focus on metro- poly- or translanguaging - with a focus on repertoires of semiotic resources - and the terms used by language users themselves - which may accord much more with traditional linguistic labels. While we tried to account for this disparity in previous discussions by focusing on the push and pull between fluid and fixed language use and descriptions, we focus in this paper on the negotiations around the labels used by the participants themselves. While it is certainly the case that the tools for discussing language use and affiliation in everyday discourse are themselves linguistically constrained (using commonly accepted language labels) the terms people use to talk about their multilingual environments are not necessarily as normative as they first appear. Such apparently stable referents are themselves part of a more complex set of identity repertoires that are always being reworked. What is at stake, therefore, is not so much a polarisation between fluid language use and fixed language ascriptions as a constant reconfiguration of language meanings.
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