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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

6 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2015, Issue 231


Defining the new speaker: theoretical perspectives and learner trajectories

Alexandra Jaffe
Published Online: 2014-12-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2014-0030


This article addresses the concept of the new speaker from both a theoretical/definitional perspective and from the standpoint of a situated, ethnographic analysis. The more general and theoretical focus addresses some of the presuppositions and entailments of the new speaker concept, both as an “on-the-ground” concept that gets operationalized by social actors and as an analytical category used by researchers. In particular, it considers how the new speaker concept elucidates criteria in relation to which minority language-speaking communities of practice are conceptualized and enacted. The ethnographic focus, on Corsican adult language classrooms, explores how new-speakerness is invoked implicitly in Corsica, where the term “new speaker” itself is not in circulation, but is a target of language planning strategies. This ethnographic research reveals complex identity and language ideological issues that are raised about the legitimacy, authority and authenticity of Corsican language learners in a sociolinguistic context in which both formal/institutional and informal/social use of the minority language is quite restricted.

Keywords: Corsica; adult language learning; legitimacy; authority; authenticity

About the article

Published Online: 2014-12-18

Published in Print: 2015-01-01

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2015, Issue 231, Pages 21–44, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2014-0030.

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©2015 Jaffe, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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