Maïa Ponsonnet

Aug 12, 2021

Difference and Repetition in Language Shift to a Creole

The Expression of Emotions

Routledge 2019

In today’s global commerce and communication, linguistic diversity is in steady decline across the world as speakers of smaller languages adopt dominant forms. While this phenomenon, known as ‘language shift’, is usually regarded as a loss, this book adopts a different angle and addresses the following questions:

  • What difference does using a new language make to the way speakers communicate in everyday life?
  • Can the grammatical and lexical architectures of individual languages influence what speakers express?
  • In other words, to what extent does adopting a new language alter speakers’ day-to-day communication practices, and in turn, perhaps, their social life and world views?

To answer these questions, Difference and Repetition in Language Shift to a Creole: The Expression of Emotions (Routledge, 2019) studies the expression of emotions in two languages on each side of a shift: Kriol, an English-based creole spoken in northern Australia, and Dalabon (Gunwinyguan, non-Pama-Nyungan), an Australian Aboriginal language that is being replaced by Kriol.

This volume is the first to explore the influence of the formal properties of language on the expression of emotions, as well as the first to describe the linguistic encoding of emotions in a creole language. The cross-disciplinary approach will appeal to linguists, psychologists, anthropologists, and other social scientists.

Maïa Ponsonnet is an anthropological linguist currently based at The University of Western Australia in Perth. She holds a PhD in linguistics from the Australian National University (Canberra, 2014), with additional background in philosophy (PhD Université Paris-8, 2005). She has extensive experience working with speakers of Indigenous languages in communities of inland Arnhem Land, in the Top End of Australia. In line with her combined linguistic, philosophical, and anthropological interests, Maïa Ponsonnet’s research concerns the role of language in humans’ lives, and in particular how language may channel or modify people’s experience and management of emotions.

Piers Kelly is a linguistic anthropologist at the University of New England, Australia

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