Maya the bee, scoobydoo and other stories: How the public and private distinction is depicted in children's bidialectal interactions in kindergarten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The complex notion of the public/private distinction of social spheres has not been systematically investigated in sociolinguistics; particularly in the case of bidialectal kindergarten age children and how they construct their social lives around this distinction in a public environment such as that of school. No simple continuum can clearly illustrate the distinction between public and private since the dividing line between the two is discursively renegotiated and recreated. Hence, the distinction between the two is normally characterised by fluidity rather than stability. This is the case in educational settings where it is firmly institutionalised. In this study, the public/private distinction is analysed as a communicative phenomenon in kindergarten children's linguistic practices in two varieties. The data illustrate that young children separate their social spheres into 'public' and 'private' by skilfully employing linguistic variation. That said, the distinction children make between the two spheres is not always predictable, not only due to the instability in the boundaries that separate one sphere from the other but also due to differences in speakers' linguistic ideologies regarding the use of specific varieties in certain communicative practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-657
Number of pages31
JournalMultilingua
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Greek cypriot dialect
  • Language attitudes
  • Linguistic variation
  • Public/private distinction
  • Standard modern greek

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