Language Shift in the United States by Calvin Veltman

By Calvin Veltman

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SOCIOLOGY OF LANGUAGE brings to scholars, researchers and practitioners in all the social and language-related sciences rigorously chosen book-length guides facing sociolinguistic thought, tools, findings and functions. It methods the learn of language in society in its broadest feel, as a very foreign and interdisciplinary box within which numerous ways, theoretical and empirical, complement and supplement one another. The sequence invitations the eye of linguists, language academics of all pursuits, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, historians and so on. to the advance of the sociology of language.

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The first thing we hear, on playing the record, is a clopping sound that is a sonic icon of hoofbeats, which suggest in turn the presence of a horse. That indexical inference is reinforced a moment later by the commands, “Whoa! whoa! whoa! ” The bugle call, just before Jim begins his story (line 10), the band music that strikes up as he opens his narration (line 16), and the cheers that ring out in the background (indicated by relative volume) as he tells his story of the Tennessee Derby all serve as environmental and spatial indicators, filling out our imaginative understanding of the racing complex, its configuration, and the deictic center and periphery of the focal event within it.

What new features did the process of recording call forth? And what was the broader cultural field in which these transformations occurred? As a point of entry into this broad arena of investigation, I deal in this chapter with a series of recordings made by some of the earliest featured performers of the new medium, performers whose recordings demonstrate significant transformations 23 24 Richard Bauman that reshaped oral storytelling as it was adapted to commercial recording. I intend this chapter to serve as an exploration in the history, culture, and technology of storytelling as a performance form, with special attention to changes that attended the process of remediation from copresent, live performance to sound recording made for a nascent commercial market.

Bauman 1986, 23, 25, 42, 56–58, 83–90, 108–11); 2. The division of the narrative into three principal episodes consisting of dyadic interactions between the dramatis personae (here Jim Lawson and Deacon Witherspoon), played out in quoted dialogue (cf. Johnstone 1996, 40); 3. The predominant use of the historical present (“Jim says,” “Deacon says”) of the verbs of saying employed as quotative frames (cf. Johnstone 1990, 77–88); 4. Uncle Josh’s signature laugh, an exuberant cackle that signals the narrator’s own amusement at the narrated event and serves as an evaluative marker of the key element on which the plot turns, namely, the squatting of the horse; 5.

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