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Language naming practices, ideologies and linguistic practices: Toward a comprehensive description of language varieties
2006-07, Léglise, Isabelle, Migge, Bettina
Although it is well accepted that linguistic naming conventions provide valuable insights into the social and linguistic perceptions of people, this topic has not received much attention in sociolinguistics. Studies focus on the etymology of names, details about the social and historical circumstances of their emergence, and their users, and sometimes make recommendations about the appropriateness of terms. This article departs from this tradition. Focusing on the term 'Takitaki' in French Guiana, it shows that an analysis of the discursive uses of language names by all local actors provides significant insights into the social and linguistic makeup of a complex sociolinguistic situation. Descriptions of languages in such settings should be based on the varieties identified by such an analysis and on practices in a range of naturalistic interactions. Based on these analytical steps, the authors propose a multi-perspective approach to language documentation.