On mediated diaspora language contexts

11 03 2009

You are hereby kindly invited to attend the upcoming Discourse in Organizations Workshop on mediated diaspora language contexts by Ghent University sociolinguist Mena Lafkioui.  Workshop details and abstract after the jump.

Mena Lafkioui
Ghent University & Università di Milano-Bicocca

Diaspora websites as institutionalised contexts: creating language norms and accommodation in computer-mediated discourse

Friday March 20, 2009, 2:00-4:00pm
Ghent University, UCT Talencentrum
Sint-Pietersnieuwsstraat 136, B-9000 Ghent

Despite the precarious and marginal socio-political position of Diaspora languages, an explosion of hybrid – in form and content – cultural expressions has been occurred in recent years. Now more than ever, these languages function as a central source for constructing and reconstructing trans-local group identities, a process in which literacy and electronic media play a significant role. One of the most far-reaching and all-encompassing media is the Internet. It allows individuals and groups to create new discourses and contexts. Therefore, I examine in this paper how Diaspora websites function as institutionalised contexts which regroup different institutionalised genres within a wider trans-local “institutional discursive regime” (Fairclough 1992).

I have chosen to examine Dutch-based Amazigh (Berber) websites since they are most advanced and regularly updated. Moreover, these websites show a high level of creativity, related to the large presence of Amazigh (Berber) people in Belgium and the Netherlands who show a keen interest in the preservation and promotion of their cultural tradition and identity. My presentation focuses on the issues of language choice/use, the creation of language norms and the way the Internet interactants accommodate to meet the interactive objectives and functions of these multilingual websites, which regulate to some degree the displayed language features, functions and contextualisation.


Fairclough, N. 1992. Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity.




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