29 Jan “Bellas Melodías”: Failed Reification of a Newcomer’s Experience in a Target Language Community
Michele Back (Hispanic Studies, UC-Riverside)
Friday, January 29 / 1:30 PM
One way in which newcomers may access a target language community is by emphasizing the relevance of their own life experiences to that community, in this way validating these experiences and creating a shared meaning among all participants. Speakers may communicate these experiences through what Wenger termed reification, or “the process of giving form to our experience by producing objects into ‘thingness.'” This presentation discusses the case of Alejandro, a newcomer to an Andean folkloric music band working in Seattle. Alejandro is a native Spanish speaker, while the other members of the band are either native speakers or advanced learners of Imbabura Quichua. Discursive phenomena such as conversational overlaps, laughter, and language alternation point to Alejandro’s failed attempt at reification in the context of the target community. Michele Back is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her research examines identity and language learning among transnational and multilingual communities, with a particular focus on Quechua languages.
Sponsored by the IHC’s Language, Interaction, and Social Organization RFG.