What is a language if we are not sure of how to define the community who speaks it? And what contributes to the emergence of languages and language boundaries in the first place? These questions form this project’s underlying interest in language ideologies in linguistically complex Belize. The study is based on an ethnographic field study conducted in a village characterized by linguistic diversity and inter-ethnic complexity. It gives voice to multilingual speakers whose concepts of language use often do not fit into Western paradigms of the relationship of language and social order. It thus contributes to overcoming a view on language as ‘naturally’ appearing in homogenous, coherent systems, tied to distinct cultural groups. The study of language and of language ideologies in Belize, a context in which languages and social units do not straightforwardly link to each other, exhibits discursive processes that co-construct languages as systemic entity. At the same time, the data demonstrates that a priori epistemological assumptions of languages as given entities as common in the discipline of linguistics are problematic. Thus, the analysis of observational, conversational and interview data from this highly complex linguistic setting proves to be relevant for reframing contemporary linguistic theory where ideologies of ‘one language-one nation language’ have become dismantled.
Schneider, Britta (submitted habilitation thesis). Liquid Languages. Polymorphous Acts of Identity and the Fluidity of Language Categories in Linguistically Complex Belize
Schneider, Britta. 2017. "Lobster, tourism and other kinds of business. Economic opportunity and language choice in a multilingual village in Belize" Special Issue 'Language, Mobility and Work' in Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication: online.
Schneider, Britta. 2017. “‘It’s Kriol they’re speaking!’ – Constructing language boundaries in multilingual and ethnically complex communities.” In: Elmiger, Daniel et al. (eds.) Bulletin VALS-ASLA: Bulletin suisse de linguistique appliquée. Neuchâtel: Institut de Linguistique de l’Université de Neuchâtel: online.