Relationship between language and ethnic identity theory

relationship between language and ethnic identity theory

Language and ethnicity, and the broader topic of language and identity of which it Judges 12, where the perceived connection between tribe and accent cost 42, for a survey of various sociological theories' approaches to ethnicity, and. are members of one ethnic group or another, but ethnic-group membership is more often associated with . so-called ethnolinguistic identity theory. This theory suggests that, language-ethnicity link has been subject to considerable debate. Language and Ethnicity at School: some implications from theoretical Language group membership is no longer seen as permanent as it used to be, and . as a key place for shaping the relationship between majority and minority groups.

Language and social identity: a psychosocial approach | Rusi Jaspal -

The distinctive ritual is a prime example of situational ethnicity and situated ethnic identity. At an individual or societal level one may rely on labels to describe their ethnic affiliation and subsequently their identity.

Language use and cultural/ethnic identity

Labels assist in classifying and naming people. Thus, ethnic labeling has a sociopolitical value and function, especially for census and demographic studies. At a superficial level, where generalizations about distinct cultural orientations are not used, ethnic labels serve a useful function. However, use of a label is a small part of the identity process, as one is likely to expand the labeling to include other identifiers such as natal background, acculturation status, ego-involvement, and attitudes toward own and other groups; behavioral preferences such as language usage, friendship affiliations, music and food preferences, and participation in cultural and religious activities may be included Trimble, People with mixed ethnic backgrounds present interesting ethnic identity cases as they have at least two ethnic groups from which to claim and negotiate an ethnic declaration.

Based on extensive interviews with people of mixed-ethnic background the clinical psychologist Maria P. Root identified four basic reasons why a multi-ethnic person would choose to identify with a particular group regardless of how others may view them. One enhances their sense of security by understanding a distinct part of their ethnic heritage; 2. Parental influences stimulated by the encouragement of grandparents promote identity, thereby granting permission to the offspring to make a choice; 3.

Racism and prejudice associated with certain groups lead to sharing experiences with family, thereby assisting the individual to develop psychological skills and defenses to protect oneself the shared experiences helps to build self-confidence and creates the sense that one can cope with the negative elements often associated with the group ; and 4.

The first oblique reference to ethnic identity can be found in the anthropological and sociological literature of the early 20th century, in reference to the field study of non-western cultures. The terms, ethnic groups and ethnicity, were first used in anthropology to refer to a people presumed to affiliate with the same cultural group and who shared the same custom, language and traditions.

Over the years the construct seems to have emerged through the combination of ethnic and identity and their meanings, as a reasonably thorough literature search was unable to uncover a coining author or an often-cited definition.

relationship between language and ethnic identity theory

Reference to the notion of ethnic identity can be trace back to the early 19th century. One can hardly overemphasize their identity. When first used, ethnic identity was synonymous with race or racial identity and ethnicity in general. Gans suggests that the sociologist David Riesman gave ethnicity a new and salient meaning in the 20th century. Werner Sollarson the other hand, attributes the earliest use of the term to Einar Haugen and Joshua Fishman who were likely influenced by the sociologist W.

Western Washington Ethnic Identity - Joseph E. Trimble, Ph.D.

Lloyd Warner see p. Race and ethnicity were often used interchangeably in reference to both the physical and cultural characteristics of an individual as a member of his or her ethnic or racial group and the circumstances that influenced its importance. Inthe sociologist, Max Weber, wrote about ethnic groups in a novel way, including within the definition a subjective element that previously had been absent.

Weber also differentiated between racial and ethnic identity by proposing that a blood relationship was necessary for racial identification but not for ethnic identification. Ethnicity, for example, is more salient today than in prior decades. And for the past few decades America's ethnic minority groups have been actively asserting their civil rights and demanding privileges heretofore denied them. Several factors have been cited as leading to this renewed interest in ethnicity, arguably the most significant being the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States.

The beginning of this movement can be characterized as an attempt on the part of African Americans leaders and the African Americans culture in general, to take charge of their ethnic and racial identity and to subsequently redefine their ethnicity at both a societal and cultural level. Consequently, the social movement led to increased discourse on the topics of race and ethnicity in addition to an upsurge in societal awareness regarding these topics Bourguignon, ; Phinney, More and more it appears that North Americans are realizing that their biological ancestors wittingly and unwittingly influence their lives.

To gain some understanding and perhaps to add structure and meaning, many are searching their attics for long lost records describing their social histories. And from the discoveries one constructs a "symbolic identity. In the course of constructing and maintaining the identity, common historical symbols are identified, shared, and passed along to future generations.

The symbols also can serve as a public affirmation of one's ethnic claim - clothing, decals, adornments, flags, food, language, and celebrations.

relationship between language and ethnic identity theory

Ethnic groups and boundaries: The social organization of culture difference. Ethnicity and social change. Theory and practice pp. An introduction to human nature and cultural differences.

Clearing roadblocks in the study of ethnicity and substance abuse. International Journal of Addictions, 28 12 The future of ethnic groups and cultures in America. SollarsTheories of ethnicity: A classical reader pp.

New York University Press. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. Democracy versus the melting-pot: A study of American nationality. Symbolic ethnicity and American Jews: The relationship of ethnic identity to behavior and group affiliation.

Social Science Journal, 30, Ethnic identity in adolescents and adults: Psychological Bulletin, A language may be important to a group at a symbolic level.

For instance, individuals may collectively lay claim to a language, which they themselves do not speak natively, in order to assert a symbolic identity which will differentiate them from others. Welsh nationalism exem- plifies this notion of symbolic identity.

Although just a fifth of the population actually speaks Welsh, the language is often brandished as a symbol of uniqueness and differentiation from their English neighbours. This is reflected in the bilingual signs and notices throughout the nation, even in predominantly English-speaking areas. If their national identity is in any way threatened by the symbolic dominance of the English, perhaps the collective adoption of the Welsh language, even by individuals whose native language is English, allows them entry in a less threatening position.

A psychosocial approach Language attitudes The construction of a social identity on the basis of language is an intricate and complex process, in which the role of language attitudes must also be taken into consideration.

In state- sponsored language standardisation, for instance, language is codified in a rather arbitrary fashion Lodge A cursory glance at the Persian language, for instance, reveals the abun- dance of Gallicisms in the language, which is curious given that Iran was never colonised by the French.

The explication is that the intellectuals who codified Modern Persian had studied in Paris and saw French culture as desirable which underlay their decision to integrate lexical items into the language.

Standardisers prescriptively evaluate language with the utopian vision that members of the linguistic ingroup will adhere to the prescribed rules. It is possible that speakers of stigmatised language varieties may accept and reproduce negative social representations of their own languages, which could in fact have negative repercussions for their identities Breakwell, For instance, speakers of Andalusian Spanish, which is a non-standard, stigmatised language variety, have been found to evaluate their own speech less positively than Standard Spanish, which is viewed as the linguistic ideal Carbonero, For instance, a study on bilingualism among Portuguese immigrants in California Williams, demonstrates that Portuguese language mainte- nance among first generation immigrants is low; eight percent no longer speak the language fluently and reject the importance of the Portuguese language in their ethnic identity.

Since English is the desideratum for social mobility in the US, the impor- tance of the Portuguese language may be downgraded in order to accommodate the English language.

This phenomenon has indeed by noted in other cultural settings e. Jaspal, Conclusion It has been argued that language can constitute an important marker of social identity at various levels of human interdependence, e. People may or may not act in accordance with these representations; for instance, if a group or its language evokes negative social representations, a member of the social or linguistic group may seek social mobility through membership in a more positively evaluated group.

The boundaries of linguistic identity are of course permeable; an individual may choose to leave their original group and gain membership of another by adopting a new language. It has been demonstrated how social psychological theories of identity may enhance our understanding of the functions of language in various identity contexts.

Identity processes may explain both group-based and individual-based decisions to adopt or to reject languages; Psych-Talk — September 19 Rusi Jaspal the overarching search for a positive social identity seems to underlie these decisions. Clearly, these issues merit further academic attention both at the individual and social levels; social psychology is fully equipped to address this complex area of study. In conclusion, it is hoped that the present paper will motivate scholars to conduct further theoretical and empirical work on language and social identity from a psychosocial perspective.

Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Coping with threatened identities. Social representational constraints upon identity processes. Bridging theoretical traditions pp. On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, — A growth period conducive to alienation. Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla. The role of the heritage language in social interactions and relationships: Reflections from a language minority group.

Bilingual Research Journal, 24, — International Affairs, 76, — Identity politics in a multilingual age pp. Identity in a postmodern world. Learning how to mean: Explorations in the development of language. New ethnicities and language use.