“Zwei languages zusammenputten”1: Bilingual ways of expressing bicultural identities

Alexandra Münch, Doris Stolberg

Abstract



The availability of linguistic resources plays a crucial role when sociocultural identities are constructed in interpersonal interaction. When looking at ways of how language is used to fulfil this purpose, the behaviour of bilinguals is particularly revealing because the structure of the bilingual linguistic repertoire is often more transparent than that of a “monolingual” repertoire. In our research project on contact phenomena between German and English, we investigate bilingual speech patterns of first generation German immigrants to the USA2. In our presentation we focus on the analysis of a tape-recorded free interaction which took place among five bilingual speakers aged 59-82, and we are concentrating on two of the speakers, both of them women. These speakers, we will call them Laura and Toni3, immigrated to the USA as young adults with hardly any prior knowledge of English.

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