The project is composed of three sub-projects (A,B,C). Project A, carried out by Prof. David Britain, explores how mobile individuals have been theorised, operationalised methodologically and portrayed (especially in the Anglophone dialectological literatures) from the traditional scholars of the late 19th century such as Ellis (1889), through to the emergent sociolinguistic approaches of Labov (1966/2006), Milroy (1980) and on to contemporary approaches to dialect through, for example, studies of dialect contact (e.g. Trudgill 2004, Cheshire et al 2011) and sociolinguistic work on place (e.g. Johnstone 2010). Whilst traditional dialectologists exerted rather tight control over a highly restricted sample of authentic speakers, approaches in the past half century, from Labov’s sociolinguistics of the 1960s onwards, have presented themselves as socially ever more inclusive, despite drawing upon nevertheless ‚sanitised‘ sample populations. Later work, especially in the dialect contact paradigm initiated by Trudgill (1986) has, of course, examined the linguistic consequences of mobility (see Kerswill 2002 for a summary). Much of this dialect contact work has, however, focussed on the consequences of ‘single significant acts’ of mobility – for example, migration to New Zealand in the 19th century or indentured Indian workers being sent to Fiji. Furthermore, it has, in general, tended to look at the ultimate consequences of that mobility, at the native-born in communities that emerged as a result of contact, rather than the consequences of ‘mobility-in-progress’ – though there are some important exceptions here (e.g. Kerswill and Williams 2000). Such work also has not fully explored the effects, more subtle, but nevertheless important, of the everyday mundane mobilities of human routine behaviour (Britain in press c, 2010c). These include commuting to work, moving to college, visiting family and friends, participation in the mobile tertiary sector of the economy, the mobilities that entail from the consumption of goods and services, from moving home and from our reliance on the car. They may indeed seem trivial, and of little long-term relevance to patterns of language variation and change. On the other hand, we must not underestimate their sheer scale and intensity (Britain in press c). Humanistic geographical work on language and place (see notably Johnstone 2010) presents very socially rich contextualisations of language use, development and enregisterment, but Cresswell – a humanistic geographer himself (see 2004) – argues that nevertheless, within the canon of humanistic geography...mobility once again plays second fiddle to the overriding concern with place, and once again mobility is portrayed as a threat and dysfunction’ (2006: 30). The project will demonstrate that this paradigm too, nevertheless, has succumbed to the sedentarist metaphysical stance identified by Malkki and Cresswell.
Project B, carried out by Laura Tresch, focuses on koinéization and investigates the language ideologies underlying the development and legitimisation of New Zealand English and of 'enregistered non-standard contact varieties of the South east of England'. Embedded within a sociogeographical and sociolinguistic history of both New Zealand and the south-east of England, this subproject will identify the specific salient political, social and cultural debates about language that have shaped and been shaped by metalinguistic discourses (e.g. debates about accent and dialect before and after the ‘discovery’ of ‘Estuary English’ as the mobility-driven new accent of the South-East of England in the late 1980s and early 1990s) and select particular debates for special examination. In the New Zealand context, for example, this might be debates about language in light of the advent of radio and television, and discussions about the appropriateness of NZ English vis a vis external, British models of language in these media. Whilst there is some work already on lay commentary about NZE (e.g. Gordon 1983, 1994, Hundt 1998), there is much more to be done, especially for more recent periods of the history of NZE. In this regard, Damousi’s (2010) volume on Australian English is inspirational, and provides encouraging prospects for comparative work. She examines in the (post)colonial Australian context, the sociolinguistic and cultural consequences of ideologically driven activities such as elocution and voice training, etiquette and broadcasting norms. In the context of ‘Estuary English’, there has been extensive media commentary about what it is and its causes; political debate about its role, as well as a good deal of ambiguity in all public discourses about its characteristics, its class status, and its relationship with other stereotypical and almost always publicly stigmatised images of non-elite groups in the south-east (and beyond) such as that of the so-called ‘chav’ (Jones 2012, Bennett 2012). Despite plenty of evidence of media and other public discourses on 'Estuary English', there has been very little metalinguistic analysis of this evidence, nor (though see Bennett (2012) for the rather different ‘chavspeak’) examinations of the underlying ideologies in these discourses. Certainly in the case of 'Estuary English' there have been what are, on the surface, contradictory discourses about it – on the one hand that it is or will be the new RP, on the other that it is, in the words of a former British Minister of Education ‘a bastardised version of Cockney’. Such contradictions are found elsewhere in the dialect contact literature too, including for NZE. As far as possible, the domains of closer analysis will be the same in the examinations of the two varieties to enable extensive comparative work not only with the relevant case study in Project C, but also, across the more/less legitimisation dimension within Project B itself.
Project C, carried out by Christoph Neuenschwander, focuses on creolisation and examines language ideologies in relation to Tok Pisin and Hawai'i Creole English. This subproject will identify, in political, social and cultural context, the metalinguistic discourses that shape and have been shaped by contact-induced language development. It compares and contrasts two rather different creole languages – Tok Pisin spoken in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Hawai’i Creole English (HCE) – and examines the differing language ideologies and discourses of authenticity in their respective speech communities. The perceived lack of historicity in the case of creoles presents barriers to legitimisation, their origins in trade languages conflict with the ideologised characteristics of vernaculars, and their hybrid status and history challenge notions of the ‘authentic speaker’. Creoles, then, are an ideal site in which to examine the implications of language ideologies and notions of authenticity. There is a somewhat greater literature on language ideologies in creole speaking communities than in koine-speaking ones (see, for example, Kulick 1998, Romaine 1999, Kouwenberg et al 2011, Schieffelin and Charlier Doucet 1998, Hiramoto 2011), but nevertheless a number of important concerns remain – for example, the need to examine ideologies more systematically as dynamic and not static social processes, and how changes in ideologies over time lead to changes in the development and status but also the legitimisation and authentication of those varieties; in addition, further explicit empirical examinations of the actual effect of language ideologies on language variation and change within individual creoles are needed. In addition, given where and in what conditions pidgins and creoles form, it is productive to examine whether sedentarist ideologies play a role in their rather slow and contested routes to authentication. The two creoles under scrutiny differ in many regards. Both originally emerged as work and trade languages – languages whose origins lie outside the home - and both serve important identity marking functions among their speakers. Tok Pisin is very much used in a wide range of formal - on TV and radio, in some newspapers, in parliament, etc - as well as informal domains in PNG, has an accepted written form and is used extensively in the education system. Tryon and Charpentier (2004: 10) argue that there has been a ‘dramatic development of Tok Pisin in the twentieth century’ and cite Mühlhäusler and Baker (1996: 502) who highlight a number of factors that have characterised this development, namely ‘the growth of the range of functions’, ‘the rapid expansion of the domains of discourse in which Tok Pisin features’, ‘its adoption by a growing number of media’ and a ‘change in status from a colonial working language to one of political debate and national identity, as well as an ‘increase in lexical and structural complexity’. HCE, on the other hand, is almost exclusively found in informal domains, as well as in some comedy routines (e.g. Furukawa 2011), advertisements (Hiramoto 2011), and some literature. It has only just acquired its own writing system, but few use it, preferring English-based orthographies (Siegel 2008). In addition, Siegel explicitly distinguishes the two varieties in terms of whether they are placed or not on a post-pidgin/creole continuum. HCE sits on such a continuum with omnipresent and dominant Standard American English at the other pole, and, consequently, suffers thereby from a lack of overt public authentication and legitimisation as a ‘real’ and ‘distinct’ language (however problematic those ideologies may be) (see Milroy 2001 for a further discussion of ideologies of language distinctiveness), with many speakers of HCE perceiving it as an incorrect, broken form of English (Siegel 2008: 267-268) . Tok Pisin went through ‘a period of relative isolation from English during its formative years’ (Tryon and Charpentier 2004: 11), and so there is little if any evidence of decreolization nor of the formation of a post-creole continuum, with its speakers perceiving their creole as distinct from English (Siegel 2008: 267-8). Levels of contact with exonormative varieties of English differ significantly in the two communities, and it is to be assessed the extent to which language ideologies in the two speech communities pull upon or resist these externally driven influences.