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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

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Volume 2019, Issue 257


Linguistic mudes: An exploration over the linguistic constitution of subjects

Joan Pujolar
Published Online: 2019-05-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2019-2024


The concept of muda has recently been used to name the specific biographical junctures where individuals enact significant changes in their linguistic repertoire. Given that the use of different linguistic varieties constitutes a resource to construct social categories and to evaluate an actor’s claims to specific social identities, those who change their repertoire must deal with all the potential implications, namely how their social position to date may be affected. In this article, I explain how the notion of muda originated and how it has developed, and discuss how I believe that it can contribute to expand the purview of sociolinguistic research on multilingualism. I argue first that they provide an interesting angle from which to explore forms of agency through language. Secondly, I contend that muda makes time more visible in sociolinguistic processes. Finally, I show that these two aspects of mudes yield specific insights to address issues of linguistic legitimacy and their social consequences, particularly how linguistic capital participates in the construction of social difference and inequalities and, therefore, in the structuration of symbolic and economic markets.

Keywords: linguistic mudes; new speakers; Catalan; agency; time; emotions


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-05-04

Published in Print: 2019-05-27

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2019, Issue 257, Pages 165–189, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2019-2024.

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