Spread, stability, and sociolinguistic variation in multilingual practices: the case of Lánnang-uè and its derivational morphology
Wilkinson Daniel Wong Gonzales
International Journal of Multilingualism
Multilingualism; multilingual practices; morphology; spread and stability; language attitudes; sociolinguistic variation and change
This study examines nominal derivational aﬃxes in a multilingual practice in the Philippines involving Hokkien, Tagalog, and English called Lánnang-uè. A feature of this practice is the systematic combination of aﬃxes and roots (henceforth, ‘system’). Certain morphological combinations (e.g. Tagalog preﬁxes + English root) are used frequently and are regarded by Lánnang-uè users as well-formed, while others are not. This paper seeks to examine the spread, stability, and possible patterns of sociolinguistically-conditioned variation involving this system in the Lánnang-uè-speaking community. I conducted an acceptability judgment experiment involving 65 users in Manila and found high rates of spread and stability within my sample. Factors such as age, sex, and attitudes towards mixing selectively conditioned how some speakers adhered to system. For example, older users tended not to follow the aﬃx source language, length, and position condition of the system whereas male users only tended not to follow the ﬁrst condition. Based on the ﬁndings, I argue that the derivational aﬃxation system exhibits conventionalisation, and that it emerged due to identity negotiation practices led by younger and female users. I also argue that conscious positive attitudes towards mixing help shape the stable development of multilingual practices.