Article published in:SMS Communication: A linguistic approach
Edited by Louise-Amélie Cougnon and Cédrick Fairon
[Benjamins Current Topics 61] 2014
► pp. 169–190
A sociolinguistic analysis of transnational SMS practices
Non-elite multilingualism, grassroots literacy and social agency among migrant populations in Barcelona
From the field of the sociolinguistics of globalisation, this article investigates the linguistic features of transnational SMS talk, focusing on the heteroglossic and hybrid multilingual text messaging practices and the ICT-mediated vernacular literacies of a very heterogeneous small group of migrants establishing transnational networks in the outskirts of Barcelona. It shows that migrants employ highly flexible, non-elite linguae francae or “we-codes” for successful inter-group communication which are based on heterography, orality, anti-standardness and transidiomaticity. It also explores the social indexicalities of such SMS practices, and claims that, against a highly ideologised discursive regime which classifies them as “faulty” or “deviant”, transnational migrants’ text messages offer an insight into how these highly mobile citizens attain the necessary degree of social agency to unfold their many transnational identities, re-negotiate their belonging and entitlement to host-society resources, and manage to organise their life trajectories and prospects largely successfully.
Published online: 08 July 2014