WP37 Sociolinguistic scales



Globalization compels disciplines such as sociolinguistics to unthink their theoretical fundamentals. In this paper, the notion of scale is introduced and its potential purchase for sociolinguistic analysis is discussed. Scale is a theoretical notion in geography and World Systems Analysis, and it has two crucial dimension: (a) it merges time and space into one complex unit; (b) it offers a vertical spatial (or spatiotemporal) metaphor in which stratification ? the non-equivalence of scales ? is central. The latter is a critical dimension: it introduces power and inequality as key ingredients of social semiotic processes and so integrates these dimensions (now often seen as a theoretical add-on) into the core of sociolinguistic thinking. Several theoretical dimensions of scales are explored, focusing specifically on how scale can be seen as an indexical phenomenon strongly connected to indexicalities of normativity and normalcy. This discussion is followed by a number of illustrative vignettes that show how notions of scale, scaling phenomena, outscaling and scale-jumping can reformulate several types of sociolinguistic phenomena.