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Title: A study of mixed language use among two social groups of East Malaysian multilinguals in informal settings
Author: Wong, Victoria Xinyi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 0871
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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Malaysia is a nation of considerable multi-ethnolinguistic variety. Comprising thirteen states (eleven located on the mainland, two situated in island Southeast Asia), diversity is evident between the many officially categorised ethnic groups, as well as within them (blurring official ethnic categories). Bi- or multilingualism is the norm throughout Malaysia, albeit more prevalent among minorities and in certain areas, especially those that are urban and/or are locations of ethnic diversity. Codeswitching and translanguaging are common enough not to be remarkable outside of formal public discourse and mono-ethnolinguistic situations. This study was undertaken in East Malaysia, Sarawak, and takes an ethnographic approach. In order to try and make sense of the ways in which East Malaysian speakers express themselves, participant observation was undertaken in a family and a friendship domain, respectively. Speech events were informal and naturally occurring, during which family members and, separately, a group of friends interact in a variety of languages, illustrating the rich multilingual repertoires that participants can draw on. The findings reveal six language tendencies, namely habit, cause and effect, convenience, efficiency, accommodation and affiliation. As for the various circumstances in which language use occurs, most of them are the same for the two social groups. In addition, it could be seen that bilinguals use varied ways to connect closely with each other, and it is done by using a certain language to exclude others from the conversation or to keep the conversation flow, and it could also take place as a result of the trigger effect and external influence. Moreover, it has been shown that bilinguals associate with their interlocutors by code-switching for clarity, adaptability, and solidarity. As for the implications of affiliation, it is found that language practices serve as an important identity marker as a Malaysian, East Malaysian, and member of an ethnic, social and religious group. In this contribution, the language use patterns that have been identified and reported could subsequently be applied to Malaysians as a whole, and even to some of the previous studies conducted elsewhere.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available