Linguistics and English Language

Language in context seminar

Speakers: Lauren Hall-Lew and Graeme Trousdale (University of Edinburgh)

Title: Breksit or Bregzit : When political ideology drives language ideology

Abstract: Brexit was coined for the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU. We analyze variation in the pronunciation of Brexit ([bɹɛksɪt] vs. [bɹɛgzɪt]) to explore how that contrast has been ideologically linked to political meanings. We find that neither a production study nor a Matched Guise study support the same indexical relations that are prevalent in Twitter metacommentary. Variation in Brexit does not appear to correlate with any social factors in production and only in limited ways in perception. The social meanings indexed on Twitter are highly varied, and any ‘kernel of similarity’ (Podesva 2008) seems to be an indexing of the (political) Other, rather than a specific political stance. In contrast to variables that become politicised via non-political indexicalities (Hall-Lew et al., 2010; 2012; 2017), variation in Brexit appears to be ideologised from the indexical potential of phonetic markedness in combination with a divisive political issue.


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Stephen McNulty

Sarah Van Eyndhoven

Co-ordinators of LinC

Oct 04 2019 -

Language in context seminar

2019-10-04: Breksit or Bregzit : When political ideology drives language ideology

Room 5.46, Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh, EH8 9BT