Theorizing the speaker and speakerness in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics

Pujolar, J. and O'Rourke, B. (2019) Theorizing the speaker and speakerness in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 16(2), pp. 207-231. (doi: 10.1558/jalpp.22760)

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In this Forum Discussion paper, we put forward the concept of ‘speakerness’ and discuss how this notion can be of relevance to the professions associated with language teaching and learning. By ‘speakerness’ we understand the processes through which social actors get defined by their language practices. We connect this concept with the ongoing debates around so-called ‘non-native’ speakers of English, which have clear implications for ‘non-native teachers’. We revisit these debates by widening the scope; that is, by making connections with another controversy around speakerness, namely that around the so-called ‘new speakers’ of European minority languages. By aligning the two strands of debate, we argue that they respond to common trajectories of nation-building and colonial expansion articulated through the ways in which nationalist and colonialist discourses have constructed languages and deployed them as means of state and colonial rule. After tracing the historical origins of the notion of ‘native speaker’ and summarizing the debates on ‘non-native speakers’ and ‘new speakers’, we point to the ways in which a critical engagement with the concept of speakerness can throw light on other sociolinguistic areas in which the issue of speaker legitimacy is often recruited to naturalize inequalities of race, class or gender.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Research connected to this article was made possible through a grant from Spain’s Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación for the project ‘Nuevos hablantes, nuevas identidades’ (Ref. FFI2011-24781) and a Leverhulme Research Fel-lowship for the project ‘Re-thinking language revitalisation: New dynamics in Europe’s minority languages’ (RF-2021-274). It also benefitted from ongoing discussion on the ‘new speaker’ theme as part of the EU COST Action IS1306 network entitled ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Opportunities and Challenges’.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O'Rourke, Professor Bernadette
Authors: Pujolar, J., and O'Rourke, B.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Hispanic Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice
ISSN (Online):2040-3666
Published Online:07 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022, Equinox Publishing
First Published:First published in Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice 16(2):207-231
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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