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From gringo to guarango: language shift in a former anglophone community in Paraguay


Perez, Danae Maria. From gringo to guarango: language shift in a former anglophone community in Paraguay. 2016, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

Around the turn of the 20th century, over 600 English-speaking colonizers settled in rural Paraguay with the aim of establishing a socialist society called New Australia. The project failed, and the settlers either left the colony or gained a foothold locally. Today, their descendants mostly speak Guarani. New Australia is thus the only known case of a sizeable group of colonizers shifting from a European language to an indigenous one. This thesis provides a sociolinguistic study of New Australia and contextualizes it within the colonial and post-colonial spread of English in Latin America. On the basis of the literature, historical documents, and data collected in the field, I analyze the ethnolinguistic vitality of English over the past century. This shows that English was marginalized due to growing social inequalities and the value of English as a commodity on the international job market, which triggered out-migration. Moreover, the assignation of identity shifted from being based on primordial markers, including language, to socially constructed ones, such as financialand political power. This suggests that eventhough English was initially of overt high prestige, Guarani was, and continues to be, of covert prestige as a marker of solidarity. These findings contribute to our understanding of the vitality of Guarani in competition with English and Spanish in rural Paraguay today.

Abstract

Around the turn of the 20th century, over 600 English-speaking colonizers settled in rural Paraguay with the aim of establishing a socialist society called New Australia. The project failed, and the settlers either left the colony or gained a foothold locally. Today, their descendants mostly speak Guarani. New Australia is thus the only known case of a sizeable group of colonizers shifting from a European language to an indigenous one. This thesis provides a sociolinguistic study of New Australia and contextualizes it within the colonial and post-colonial spread of English in Latin America. On the basis of the literature, historical documents, and data collected in the field, I analyze the ethnolinguistic vitality of English over the past century. This shows that English was marginalized due to growing social inequalities and the value of English as a commodity on the international job market, which triggered out-migration. Moreover, the assignation of identity shifted from being based on primordial markers, including language, to socially constructed ones, such as financialand political power. This suggests that eventhough English was initially of overt high prestige, Guarani was, and continues to be, of covert prestige as a marker of solidarity. These findings contribute to our understanding of the vitality of Guarani in competition with English and Spanish in rural Paraguay today.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation (monographical)
Referees:Schreier Daniel, Finke Peter, Hundt Marianne
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:430 German & related languages
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:25 Mar 2019 19:09
Last Modified:25 Mar 2019 19:24
Number of Pages:223
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Related URL. An embargo period may apply.
Related URLs:https://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=ebi01_prod010867414&context=L&vid=ZAD&search_scope=default_scope&tab=default_tab&lang=de_DE (Library Catalogue)

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