The Construction of Language in Digital Society
This project is concerned with posthumanist understandings of correct language and ‘normal’ language use in the context of digital culture. While today’s concepts of standard language and linguistic appropriateness are still framed in traditions of literacy, technologies of the printing press, ideologies of the ‘native’ speaker and national boundedness, some of the modernist certainties regarding language become dismantled in contemporary communication practices. In this project, transformations of language and of concepts of language (referred to as language ideologies in linguistic anthropology) are approached. Embedded in general observations on digital language practices, including informal written interaction, the emergence of transnational communities and the ideological and technological underpinnings of AI translation tools, the main focus of the project is the analysis of human-machine interaction. I study the impact of voice-controlled human-machine interaction on the conceptualization of language appropriateness as well as on the conceptualization of computers as interaction partners. Qualitative interviews with users of voice-controlled digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa here give insight into the effects of new conversational practices on language ideologies in the 21st century that overcome national borders but at the same time display new logics of inclusion and exclusion.
Schneider, Britta. 2020. “Was ist richtige Sprache in digitaler Gesellschaft? Von der Gutenberg zur Alexa Galaxie.“ Beitrag auf dem Blog des Humboldt Instituts für Internet und Gesellschaft (HIIG)