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robertogreco : juncen   1

STET | Speaking in tongues
"A counterpoint (or sometimes complement) to Jakobson’s “referential function” of language is what he calls the “poetic function” of language. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but the poetic function of language is not about communication. It’s about language as a pure material. Perhaps this is why poets are among the most notorious code-switchers. The Cantos of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” are good examples, frustrating and bewildering undergraduates for decades with their seemingly snobbish hodgepodge of languages alive and dead. But language isn’t always about clarity of expression. It’s about magic. That feeling of recognition you get, when someone says something you might not exactly understand or feel able to paraphrase, and yet it makes perfect sense. (These, by the way, are the kinds of thoughts I have while I’m in a boat on a river zooming towards what I can only assume is yet another bad decision.)"



"And this is where it gets a little tricky. Because even though linguists are fairly strict with their definition of code-switching, there are anthropologists and sociologists and philosophers and theorists who persuasively suggest that you can code-switch within a language depending on who you happen to be talking with, or your intention, based on relationships and personal and communal identities. Some recent sociolinguistic studies suggested that people have a few basic reasons for code-switching. For one thing, we want to fit in, so we often code-switch as a way of showing solidarity. We sometimes code-switch subconsciously in this kind of situation. I’d intuitively choose the word “try,” for instance, when I’m sitting on the Greyhound bus out of Salt Lake City, talking to the friendly trucker next to me who’s deadheading back from LA to Indianapolis. We talked for, like, two hours about how to make the perfect Bolognese, and disagreed only about whether or not the milk was really important. But I’d probably intuitively go with “attempt” if I were asking a question of a panelist at an academic conference. Well, depending on the panel. People code-switch for all kinds of contexts, including social class, age, race, and other kinds of origin. A lot of us have identities that belong to more than one discourse. Of course, the darker side of solidarity is less about belonging and more about hiding. Or perhaps more aptly, passing."
culture  german  identity  language  languages  codeswitching  2014  spanish  portuguese  español  portugués  juncen  rebeccalindenberg  conversation  onomotopoeia  romanjakobson  brasil  brazil  argentina  germany  poetry  poeticfunction  words 
january 2014 by robertogreco

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