WP98 Drilling down to the grain in superdiversity.
This paper tackles the traditional split between sociolinguistics and second language research with a fine-grained but integrated account of linguistic form, language ideology and situated practice ? what Silverstein calls the ?total linguistic fact? (TLF). Emphasising one or two of these dimensions to the exclusion of the third leaves us vulnerable to the default interpretations of SLA and sociolinguistics (erasing or romanticising our informants? political, rhetorical or linguistic positioning), but if we pursue the TLF, we can watch what happens in conditions of contemporary superdiversity, where the old predictabilities dissolve and forms, acts and social categories no longer co-occur in the patterns that we once expected. Distributionally, what once seemed ?foreign? may now sound local, and interactionally, we can watch close-up whether and how the indexical evocation of social types and stances succeeds despite only imperfect command of the vernacular forms with which these typifications have been canonically associated. The paper draws on a two-year ESRC-funded project in a London suburb where >40% of the population was born abroad, and explores these issues through interactional and variationist analyses of the stylistic practice of an adult who started to use English in his late 20s.
A lecture related to this paper – entitled ‘Language learnt in London: Breaking the mould in sociolinguistics and second language research’ – can be found at https://mix.office.com/watch/17bxotal64hys