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The University of Southampton

Choose your Language!  Seminar

Modern Languages and Linguistics
6 February 2013
Lecture Theatre C Avenue Campus Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Ulrike Meinhof at .

Event details

Categorisation and Control in Cyberspace.

Multilingualism has become a common trope of brands projecting a global
presence through and gateway sites. More and more companies,
groups and media organisations offer an increasing number of language
options in order to prove their global credentials, on the one hand, and
to provide services in the customer's 'own' language, on the other.
Technological developments now mean that multilingual provision is not
just possible but also expected in new media. As Heller (2008: 505)
tells us 'the limits of the utility of fixed sociological or linguistic
variables or of fixed correspondences between language (understood as a whole, bounded system), individual social position within stable
communities and community boundaries' (Heller 2008: 505) are
increasingly recognised by scholars. However, a concern with
'homogeneity and territorial anchoring' (Heller 2008: 207) continues to
inform multilingual provision in 'borderless' cyberspace. Here we find
an enduring concern with imposing order on a multilingual world through
aligning fixed languages with fixed geographical territories. This
phenomenon stands in contrast to unregulated practices on Web 2.0, which reflect hybridity and heteroglossia, representing a rejection of fixed
categorisations and attempts to regulate linguistic behaviour (cf.
Androutsopoulos 2011). In this paper, I build on previous work
(Kelly-Holmes 2006) to explore the language provision and management of a number of global gateway sites in an attempt to examine how such
practices reinforce and/or challenge prevailing language ideologies,
which attempt 'the clean separation of languages and their speakers into
discrete pairings' (Heller 2008: 510-511).

A joint lecture with CALR.

Speaker information

Helen Kelly-Holmes, University of Limerick. Helen Kelly-Holmes is Assistant Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Limerick, Ireland, where also teaches Sociolinguistics with New Media. Her research interests revolve around the interrelationship between the media, markets and languages, and she has published widely on the topic (Advertising as Multilingual Communication (Palgrave, 2005), Language and the Market (ed. with Gerlinde Mautner, 2010) and Multilingualism and the Periphery (ed. with Sari Pietikainen, March 2013).

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