2004
Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171

Abstract

Abstract

The field of sociolinguistics recently witnessed an upsurge of studies that investigate the way and period in which children acquire the social meaning of language, and that scrutinize the role of input for that acquisition. Language variation is at the same time increasingly studied in fictional genres, which have long been ignored because of the sociolinguistic emphasis on ‘authentic’ language use. Both areas are brought together in this study, which looks into children’s exposure to language variation in Flemish child-directed media. Through a corpus analysis of the language use and the social characteristics of 260 characters from 12 audio plays for children, we address three research questions: (RQ1) how diverse is the language repertoire to which children are exposed in Flemish audio plays?; (RQ2) how can we categorize the language use of the characters in the audio plays while taking into account the diaglossic continuum of varieties in the Flemish linguistic landscape?; (RQ3) which social characteristics are indexed by the varieties in the audio plays? The results show that (i) the Flemish diaglossic language repertoire is reflected in the classification of the language use of the characters; (ii) Colloquial Belgian Dutch and the Belgian Dutch standard language serve as reference varieties in the corpus; (iii) the Belgian Dutch standard language is most typically associated with prestige, whereas West-Flemish and French have a notably more diverse social meaning potential.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): audio plays; child-directed media; fiction; language variation; social media
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