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Language Ecology in Multilingual Settings- Towards a Theory of Symbolic Competence

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Kristie Kannaley

on 30 March 2013

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Transcript of Language Ecology in Multilingual Settings- Towards a Theory of Symbolic Competence

Kramsch & Whiteside (2008) Language Ecology in Multilingual Settings: Towards a Theory of Symbolic Competence Background Information *Ecolinguistics- Study of how language affects
relationships (both human and environmental relations)

* Nations are not monocultural or monolingual- this needs to be considered in the realm of second language teaching

* Diane Larsen-Freeman (1997)- Chaos Theory Multiculturalism
* "They [language learners] have to mediate complex encounters among interlocutors with different language capacities and cultural imaginations, who have different social and political memories, and who don't necessarily share a common understanding of the social reality they are living in" (646). Basics of the Data Analysis * Collected by Anne Whiteside
* Published in 2006
* Focus on immigrants from Yucatan, Mexico
who moved to San Francisco
* Many of these immigrants were not legally
documented (influenced the acquisition of jobs)
* Lived around many different languages (could
learn Spanish to hide their legal status) Conversation #1 Location: Vietnamese
Juan (grocery owner)
Don Francisco
Anne Whiteside (researcher- but
does not speak during this conversation) Juan: How much panza you want? (tripe)
DF: Voy a comprar cinco libras de panza
mañana. (I am going to buy 5 lbs of tripe tomorrow)
Juan: OK, mañana. (Ok, tomorrow)
DF: ma' alob. (good)
Juan: OK!
DF: Dios bo dik (thanks)
Juan: bo dik (thanks)
DF: saama (tomorrow)
Juan: (laughs) saama (tomorrow)
DF: ah
http://goanimate.com/videos/0tvyMvdK7HiQ?utm_source=linkshare Translation Analysis Conversations 2-6 Location: Chinese grocery
People: Don Francisco, Anne Whiteside (researcher- speaks English and Spanish), butcher (Maya, Spanish, chinese), clerk (Some Spanish, Chinese), older woman (Chinese)
*Everyone speaks English (on different levels) Summary of Conversations Conversations 7 and 8 Location: Vietnamese Butcher

Anne Whiteside- English, Spanish
Bela Chan- Maya, Spanish, some English
Butcher A- Chinese, English, some Spanish
Butcher B- Chinese, English, some Spanish *"Juan" changes his name for Spanish
speakers- Seems more comfortable speaking Spanish than Maya
*Power dynamics- the store owner eventually takes on the language of the customer
*"A gloss of this 'OK' might be 'I agree to sell you 5lbs of tripe tomorrow' but also 'I agree to respond to you in Spanish' or 'I acknowledge the legitimacy of Spanish in my store'" (661). *DF speaks to the butcher in Maya but switches to
Spanish for the clerk (and introduces Whiteside as
his teacher)
*The clerk speaks some broken Spanish in response
*The clerk tells DF that she isn't going to speak Spanish to him anymore because she thinks Whiteside is teaching him English
*The clerk talks about her English acquisition in English (with a little Spanish)
*DF tells the clerk that she will know Maya within the
year (because that's what the customers speak) Analysis *Chinese store owner:
Chinese is the "language of intimacy"
Spanish is the "useful service language"
English is the "public transactional language" (661)

*AW defends DF by explaining that she is teaching him Spanish literacy- this puts him "on the same level" (666) with the clerk. - Reframing (he already knows English and has gone through a "rite of passage" Conversations 7-8 Location: Vietnamese Butchery
Bela Chan- Maya, Spanish, some English
Anne Whiteside- English, Spanish
Butcher A- Chinese, English, some Spanish
Butcher B- Chinese, English, some Spanish Summary/ Analysis *Bela is trying to get a good price
for what she wants to buy.
*She and Whiteside discuss in English and Spanish.
*The butchers discuss in Chinese
Bela is surprised when one of the butchers says his name is "Felipe" (but she accepts that). Conversation Analysis *Examines what the conversation means to the participants in the context of culture (DA is more general)
* kronos- "quantitative aspect of time" (658)
*kairos- "subjective time of 'tactical appropriateness'" Tenets of Dynamic Systems Theory 1. Relativity of self to other
2. Timescales
3. Emergentism
4. Unfinalizability
5. Fractals Symbolic Competence "Symbolic competence is the ability not only to approximate or appropriate for oneself someone else's language, but to shape the very context in which the language is used" (664)
*Ability to effectively interact with numerous cultures Questions for Discussion *Have you ever witnessed or
been involved with a conversation that included code-switching? Did the code-switching have anything to do with adjusting the power relations within the conversation?
* Do you think that Chaos Theory applies to language learning? Why or why not?
*How did you learn about culture in your foreign language classes? Works Cited "About." Language and Ecology Research Forum. Retrieved from: http://www.ecoling.net/

Kramsch, C. and Whiteside, M. (2008). Language Ecology in Multilingual Settings. Towards a Theory of Symbolic Competence. Applied Linguistics, 29(4): 645-671. doi: 10.1093/applin/amn022

Larson-Freeman, D. (2012). Chaos/Complexity Theory for Second Language Acquisition. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0125
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