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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

6 - World Englishes, Migration, and Diaspora

from Part I - The Making of Englishes


This chapter discusses the relevance of language contact in smaller-scale migration and linguistic diaspora situations for the study of World Englishes (WEs). It provides definitions of the terms diaspora and diasporic language variety and establishes a practice-oriented view of language use that acknowledges the speakers’ linguistic agency in constructing social meaning. It explores intersections of WEs with sociolinguistic identity construction (1) by attempting to bridge the gap between language mixing and WEs research; (2) by problematizing the role of the immigrant generation in the use of ethnolinguistic features; (3) by teasing apart factors on language contact in multiple migration scenarios; and (4) by highlighting the relevance of urban multi-ethnolects for WEs. Contextualizing WEs studies with these different theoretical perspectives pushes the boundaries of the discipline toward foregoing essentialist categories (such as “varieties” or “ethnolects”) in favor of more fluid concepts (such as “processes,” “practices,” or “repertoires”). The chapter thus uses concepts from migration and diaspora studies to show their benefit for future research of WEs.

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