October 1, 2023 9:28 pm
UChicago Researchers Discover Diverse Destinations: From Israeli Excavations to Greenland Villages

A new language has been swiftly spreading, as observed by linguist Nicholas Grenoble. The influx of English has been noticeable, with current immigrants and short-term workers mainly employing the language. Moreover, young folks are understanding English via numerous mediums such as motion pictures, video games, social media, and YouTube. Grenoble’s analysis aims to realize the dynamics of this scenario each linguistically and sociolinguistically. Particularly, he desires to know who speaks which language, when, and with whom. He is also interested in how Greenlanders are understanding English and how it impacts their know-how and use of their mother tongue, Kalaallisut.

To collect facts and answer these queries, Grenoble and project postdoc Jessica Kantarovich carried out observations in Nuuk, Greenland. One particular specific region of interest for them was the reports of Kalaallisut having shorter. Kalaallisut is a polysynthetic language, exactly where suffixes take on the function of words in languages like English. Grenoble gives an instance, explaining that the word “qujanaq” suggests “thank you.” By adding the suffix “-rsuaq,” which means “big,” the word becomes “qujanarsuaq,” which translates to “big thanks” or “thank you pretty a lot.” The researchers carried out interviews in Kalaallisut to identify if and how words have been having shorter. They also studied the every day use of the language.

In their analysis, Grenoble and Kantarovich also engage in participant-observation perform. They commit time in public areas, such as retailers and restaurants, to observe the language usage. They spend consideration to who is employing which language in casual and short interactions. One particular specific concentrate for the scholars is the notion of shifting speakers, which refers to young folks in their homeland who cease understanding their parents’ minority language and shift to the majority language. This phenomenon is of fantastic interest to Grenoble and his group.

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