Identity and Empowerment

My latest research article is out. In this article, I continue my study of language use in social media to construct identities. For this particular case, I examined why young Mexican bilinguals use vernacular language traits in their Facebook posts. This time, I decided to use an ethnolinguistic approach because it will allow me to look at language separated from the group of people a language is typically attributed to. That is, the ethnolinguistic approach will help me look at users of AAE (African American English) without assuming the users are African American or are affiliating with an African American identity necessarily. For this study, I conducted interviews and employed discourse analysis of the Facebook feeds of members of a bilingual network, in which they make use of vernacular language varieties typically attributed to African American speakers. Findings show that at least one young woman uses these vernacular English features to support feminism and present herself as equal to men. This rhetorically motivated use forges a sense of belonging outside a particularly entrenched category of woman (e.g., old fashioned) and challenges the hierarchy and language ideologies imposed by men and older women. I argue that Mexican bilinguals (male or female) who use such vernacular features are not identifying as African American or as part of any specific ethnic group. Rather, they are constructing pan-ethnic identities in opposition to whites.

To access the full article (open source), please visit: https://www.languageatinternet.org/articles/2020/christiansen

Published by Dr. C

Assistant Professor at UTSA, sociolinguist, discourse analyst, digital literacy and bilingualism researcher, online ethnographer, and more!

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