Introduction to the thematic section ‘The development of social meaning in heterogeneous speech communities’

Thematic Section: The development of social meaning in heterogeneous speech communities
social meaning, contact-induced variation and change, developmental sociolinguistics, language policy, language ideology

Laura Rosseel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Eline Zenner, KU Leuven
Itxaso Rodríguez-Ordóñez, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

In this slot, section leaders Laura Rosseel, Eline Zenner and Itxaso Rodríguez-Ordóñez provide an introduction to the topic of the thematic section. They identify and discuss the crucial gaps in contact linguistic and sociolinguistic research that the thematic section aims to contribute to address. First, sociolinguistic work into the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence rarely go beyond monolingual speech communities and typically restrict their focus on variation between standard and vernacular. Hence, this field could benefit from a contact linguistic perspective in order to address questions of how sociolinguistic competence in acquired in more heterogeneous settings. Inversely, contact linguistic research has so far paid little attention to the question of how social meaning of contact-induced linguistic phenomena develops. Engaging with work that finds its origin in developmental sociolinguistics may prove an interesting avenue to pursue to bring this aspect to contact linguistic investigation. In addition to an introduction to the topic this thematic section aims to address, the introductory slot will also be used to welcome the participants and briefly present their contribution and its link with the overarching theme.