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Regional identity construction through linguistic practices

In this project the dual role of “language” will be researched: for people, language is a means to (re)produce culture and community, but language itself also forms the heart of a culture/community. If group identifications change, then communities, culture, and languages change as well, and it is within these changes that groups are constructed again. The relationship between the individual (groups of people), location, and language will be investigated as something much more complex, fluid, multidimensional, and ambiguous than has previously been done in traditional linguistic research such as dialectology. In this perspective, a “place” such as a street, region, the Netherlands, or Europe is the result of voluntary decisions that various groups of people make regarding how they divide up the world according to their perception of it. In this context, the creation of a place implies that groups of people speak in a certain way and this way of speaking makes them recognizable to others as being from one and the same place. The concepts that are central to this project are agency, belonging, and place-making and linguistic variation represents language forms (lexical, morphological, syntactic), code switching, and language selection.

Researcher: Leonie Cornips