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  1. Optimality Theory and Language Change: The Activation of Potential - 深谷修代 - Google книги
  2. Optimality Theory and Language Change
  3. Optimality Theory
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The more relaxed atmosphere of the conversations prompted more spontaneous speech patterns and code-switched instances, which were of particular interest to us. All instances of code-switching from the similar portion of text were counted and then analyzed qualitatively. The aim of the qualitative analysis is to demonstrate that the community specific ranking of the sociopragmatic constraints of the optimality bilingual grammar proposed by Bhatt and Bolonyai can be applied for the Hungarian-American bilingual community in North Carolina.

For the discussion of the community specific ranking of Optimality Theory, only the socio-pragmatically meaningful instances of code-switching — which can be interpreted as serving a particular sociopragmatic function in light of the given context — were examined. Code-switched instances prompted by a lack of appropriate Hungarian competence as well as sociopragmatically not meaningful instances — borrowings, proper nouns — were excluded from the scope of my examination.

In the examples, plain type is used to indicate Hungarian or American English; bold italicized type is used to highlight code-switched instances. The original quotes are indicated with quotation marks, and the English translations are either inserted in brackets — if only some words need to be translated — or below the original quotes.

Optimality Theory and Language Change: The Activation of Potential - 深谷修代 - Google книги

The translations provided are my translations and I left the non-standard grammatical forms unchanged. With regard to transcription inventions, they were conducted with great detail since they are used for the qualitative analysis. However, as the transcriptions are semi-structured, informal dinner conversations, words were described as uttered by the subjects, e.

According to the framework of the Optimality Theoretical analysis of bilingual grammar, the code-switching mechanisms of all bi- and multilingual speech communities can be described as the result of a conflict between a monolingual and a code-switched candidate that has to go through a hierarchical ranking of five universal socio-cognitive constraints.

As the ranking of constraints varies in different bilingual settings, there have been attempts at setting up community-specific rankings. The interaction between the five sociopragmatic constraints is illustrated in tableaux.

Optimality Theory 1

In these tableaux, the constraints that are violated by the competing — code-switched or monolingual — candidates are indicated with asterisks. The constraints are arranged in the order following the hierarchy proposed by Bolonyai with the highest ranked constraint placed in the left side of the tableaux and the lowest at the extreme right. The candidates undergo the array of the hierarchically arranged constraints, and if they violate one particular constraint, it is marked with an asterisk.

Violating the highest ranked constraint is lethal, marked with exclamation points, which means that the surface realization of the violating candidate is disqualified. The actual output representation, the successful candidate, is indicated by a horizontal arrow. In the section below, I provide examples to demonstrate how the five constraints interact with each other in the examined set of data. To illustrate the interaction between Perspective and Solidarity, example 1 has been analyzed:.

In this utterance, the speaker remembers the first time she came to the USA. When recalling the circumstances, she switches to English to say that she came to visit somebody. By switching to English in the middle of a Hungarian sentence, she accentuates the fact that she originally came to the USA visiting somebody and not with the purpose of immigrating.

The contextualizing function of code-switching is listed among the functions of Perspective. As Hungarian is the unmarked language of the interview, the language shared with the interviewers, by switching to English, the speaker moves away from that language of solidarity, violating the constraint of Solidarity.

Optimality Theory and Language Change

Apparently, the need for the switch to English as a contextualization cue seems to be stronger than complying with the constraint of Solidarity. Therefore, it shows that Perspective is a higher ranked constraint than Solidarity. Faith, Face and Power are not relevant in this utterance. The interaction of the constraints in this utterance is illustrated in Tableau 1. It can be seen in Tableau 1 that there is an interaction between two linguistic inputs, two candidates. While the code-switched candidate a fulfills the function of Perspective acting as a contextualization cue , the monolingual Hungarian candidate b fulfills the function of Solidarity.

Optimality Theory

As only one surface representation is possible, the more optimal candidate will be the actual linguistic output. The tableau shows that the monolingual candidate fulfills the function of Solidarity as the unmarked language of the interview is Hungarian but violates the function of Perspective as it does not fulfill the function of contextualizing the story. As the actual output is the code-switched one, it can be inferred that Perspective is a higher ranked constraint than Solidarity. According to the Optimality Theory for the analysis of Bilingual Grammar, the violation of a higher ranked constraint is lethal, indicated by an asterisk, so Solidarity is marked with an asterisk in the tableau.

I gather the information for my son. He is keen on history. Why is it important to know our history?

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I am so offended. Well, you never showed a whole lot of interest. In this utterance speaker A is speaking about the importance of gathering all the historical records of his descendents for his son. He makes this statement in Hungarian.

However, speaker B, his daughter, who is a second-generation Hungarian-American, makes an English comment on this. The daughter feels that she is excluded from this and gives voice to her disappointment in English. For her, English — although she understands and speaks some Hungarian — is the default language of communication. When her father reacts to her remark, he switches from Hungarian to English. His daughter is not satisfied with this explanation and repeats how offended she is. The switch to Hungarian would promptly enable the father to gain back his role of an authoritative father, topping the argument, as well as mitigating the threat against his face as a competent father.


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Therefore, the switch to Hungarian would optimally fulfill the function of Power, topping the argument, and that of Face, mitigating the face threat, which are the sub-functions of Power and Face respectively. Therefore, expressing solidarity with his daughter in English is a stronger socio-pragmatic need for the father than expressing his authority in Hungarian. It can be seen in Tableau 2 that there are two candidates competing for surface realization: the monolingual English candidate a and the switch to Hungarian b. The monolingual candidate optimally fulfills the function of Solidarity, while the switch to Hungarian fulfills that of Power and Face.

According to the Optimality Theory for Bilingual Grammar, the actual surface representation is the most successful candidate, the one that the most optimally fulfills the sociopragmatic function instantiated by the situation.

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Relying on this logical premise, the monolingual English candidate is the actual surface representation, so the function that it actually fulfills is a higher ranked constraint than the one that its competing Hungarian candidate fulfills Face, Power. As the monolingual candidate fulfills the function of Solidarity, while the switch to Hungarian fulfills the function of Power, in this particular interaction, Solidarity outranks Power and Face.

Solidarity is a higher ranked constraint, while Face and Power are not in conflict, so they are equally ranked. Perspective and Faith are not activated in this situation. The example above shows the interaction between Faith and Solidarity. In 3 the speaker is talking about a gadget that an acquaintance of hers invented. However, as she feels that the Hungarian term ketyere is hardly specific, she switches to English to specify this invention.

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