The value of adopting multiple approaches and methodologies in the investigation of ethnolinguistic vitality
McEntee-Atalianis, Lisa (2011) The value of adopting multiple approaches and methodologies in the investigation of ethnolinguistic vitality. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 32 (2), pp. 151-167. ISSN 0143-4632.
The concept of ‘ethnolinguistic vitality’ (EV) has received variable acceptance and support within academic investigations since its introduction by Giles, Bourhis & Taylor (1977). It has especially proven to be a valuable heuristic in studies of language maintenance and shift. However, the reliability and validity of the instruments used to investigate EV, especially questionnaires used to test subjective vitality, have proven to be more problematic and have dominated much of the discourse in recent years. For example, Abrams et al (2009), investigating the Subjective Vitality Questionnaire, confirm its validity as a ‘uni-dimensional’ measure but lack of validity in assessing the discrete underlying factor structure of ‘status’, ‘demography’ and ‘institutional support’. This position paper introduces some of the issues that have been considered as problematic in the conceptualisation, investigation and application of EV and will suggest possible areas for further development. Drawing on a study of language attitudes, shift and the ethnolinguistic vitality of the Greek-Orthodox community in Istanbul (Komondouros & McEntee-Atalianis, 2007) this paper argues that there is much to recommend the tripartite conceptualisation of the EV framework in assessing both subjective and objective vitality via quantitative and qualitative methods. It is further argued that in addition to questionnaires, studies of EV can be enriched by the use of ethnographic/observational approaches and discourse analytic frameworks, particularly when investigating issues such as hybridity, and therefore greater consideration and space should be given to the latter in the research literature. The adoption of both etic and emic approaches facilitate a more detailed engagement with key constructs, e.g. complex identities, and gives greater voice to the research subject. The latter will not only benefit the study of EV but potentially facilitate a rapprochement between researchers from different disciplines, drawing them into ever greater dialogue thereby broadening academic interest in the study of vitality.
|Additional Information:||Submitted as part of a special issue to be published in 2011|
|Keyword(s) / Subject(s):||discourse analysis, essentialism, ethnography, ethnolinguistic vitality, questionnaires, social constructionism, identity|
|School:||Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication|
|Date Deposited:||18 Jan 2011 14:59|
|Last Modified:||17 Jun 2013 09:27|
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