Lecture: "NEED FLUENCY": English-Tamil Code-Mixing and the Double Voicing of Youth "Style"


Location: 242 O'Shaughnessy Hall

The Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the ISLA Language and Linguistics Working Group are proud to present a series of lectures by Constantine Nakassis, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.


"NEED FLUENCY": English-Tamil Code-Mixing and the Double Voicing of Youth "Style"

Friday, March 21, 2014, 11am-12pm
242 O’Shaughnessy Hall

Youth speech has long been noted for its hybridity and transgressive playfulness. In the multilingual context of Tamil Nadu, India, such heteroglossia is especially pronounced among college youth, who have to contend with both vernacular languages and English in the college. Through the lens of Tamil youth concepts of status and cool -- what they call "style" -- this talk interrogates the ambivalences, desires, and anxieties that are wrapped up with English and Tamil, the language of mobility and globality and the language of the "culture," home and the village. How do such youth navigate these languages, and how do their engagements with English and Tamil contribute to a particular sensibility about language? Further, how does this sensibility act on language, forming and deforming it? Reflecting on youth's "stylish" speech and the sociality it engenders, this talk aims to critically rethink the question of what a linguistic code is such that it might be mixed. This talk will be of interest to linguists, linguistic anthropologists, and scholars of youth culture.

A poster for the lectures can be found here.