Affect and the Structuring of Language Use in Ethnic Subcultures: A Study of Louisiana Cajuns
AuthorGuidry, Tiffiny E.
Committee ChairBreiger, Ronald
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractI combine approaches drawn from sociology, social psychology, and linguistic anthropology to create a unique, novel framework for the study of language, culture, and affect. The social psychological concept of affective meaning in language is measured in a single, bilingual culture and applied to the study of bilingualism, language shift, and the transmission of culture through language. The data are collected from three generations of people identifying as Cajun in South Louisiana and a small comparative sample of elderly, non-Cajuns in the Southwest. Quantitative, affective data - collected from all study participants - are bolstered by qualitative video- and audio-based data collected using anthropology-based field techniques from Cajun French/English bilingual participants, oral family histories collected from middle-aged participants, and survey data collected from high school student participants. These data and personal accounts of lives, histories, and language conception and change provide the basis for answering the following research questions: 1) When using their different languages, do bilingual speakers hold different meanings for words that have the same translated meanings? 2) Can language shift be tracked affectively? 3) Does loss of language mean loss of culture? The answer to each of these questions is yes. It is my hope that the methods developed in this study will provide the basis for future language recording and analysis and cultural preservation projects.