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LINGUIST List 21.1913

Wed Apr 21 2010

Diss: Sociolinguistics: Dumnig: 'Lang Choice in Interracial...'

Editor for this issue: Mfon Udoinyang <mfonlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Francisco Dumanig, Dissertation Abstract

Message 1: Dissertation Abstract
Date: 20-Apr-2010
From: Francisco Dumanig <fdumanigyahoo.com>
Subject: Dissertation Abstract
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Institution: University of Malaya
Program: Ph.D. in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Francisco Perlas Dumanig

Dissertation Title: Language Choice in Interracial Marriages: The case of Filipino-Malaysian couples

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Prof. Dr. Maya Khemlani David

Dissertation Abstract:

Language choice has become a common phenomenon in interracial encounters in
which speakers are always faced with the challenge of choosing an
appropriate language in various domains of communication. In multilingual
and multiracial societies, language choice can sometimes be crucial because
of its social, political, and economic impact on the speakers. Even in the
smallest unit of a society which is the family, language choice plays an
important role particularly in interactions between husbands and wives who
come from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It is therefore
the objective of this research to examine language choice in interracial
couples' communication. More specifically, this research examines the
language choice, accommodation strategies, and code switching patterns in
verbal communication of Filipino-Malaysian couples in the home domain.
Furthermore, this study explores the language choice in relation to
ethnicity, religion, first language, and gender. To carry out the study, 60
spouses consisting of Filipino-Malay, Filipino-Malaysian Chinese and
Filipino-Malaysian Indian couples were interviewed and administered
questionnaires to elicit information about their socio-demographic
profile, language choice and accommodation strategies. Data were collected
using the qualitative approach by interviewing and recording the
conversations of Filipino-Malaysian couples. To support the qualitative
findings, a quantitative approach based on the questionnaire results was
also used. The findings of the study revealed that Filipino-Malaysian
couples prefer English as their medium of communication at home with some
switching to Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Filipino languages. The couples'
preference forEnglish is prevalent although none of them considered English
as their first language. Their mother tongue becomes the secondary
preference which is evident in the use of code switching. The findings also
reveal that couples' language choice is influenced by ethnicity, religion,
first language and gender. The use of accommodation strategies such as
approximation, interpretability, discourse management and interpersonal
control accommodation strategies occurs in many interactions. The findings
of the study support Giles & Powesland's (1978) Communication
Accommodation Theory (CAT) which states that in interracial couples'
communication spouses tend to accommodate each other by using a range of
accommodation strategies which include code switching.

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