Indexicality and Enregisterment as Theoretical Approaches to the Sociolinguistic Analysis of Romance Languages

Social indexicality and enregisterment are basic notions of a theoretical model elaborated in the United States, the aim of which is to describe the relationship between the use of language variation and patterns of social behavior at the level of formal classification. This analytical approach is characterized by focusing on the interrelation of social performance and language awareness. In my contribution, I want to show how this modern methodology can give new impetus to the study of today’s problem areas in Europe, such as migration and language or urban life and language use. In particular, I am interested in the case of Catalan, which has been studied for some time by proponents of the North American enregisterment theory. This leads me to indicate that explicit forms of social conduct, such as language shift or the emblematic use of linguistic forms, can be interpreted with regard to the social indexicality of Catalan. I thus analyze them in a way which shows that authenticity and integration in Catalan society can be achieved to a considerable extent by practicing forms of linguistic enregisterment.


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