'No, we don't mix languages' : Ideological power and the chronotopic organization of ethnolinguistic identities

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-113
Journal / PublicationLanguage in Society
Issue number1
Online published5 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


In this study we address ethnolinguistic identity using Bakhtin's (1981) notion of chronotope. Taking an ethnographic approach to linguistic data from Azerbaijani and Uzbek communities, we trace the impact of various chronotopes on our participants' acts of ethnolinguistic identification. Building on Blommaert & De Fina (2017), we illustrate how ethnolinguistic identification is an outcome of the interaction between multiple levels of large- and small-scale chronotopes. Furthermore, we argue that chronotopes differ in terms of their power, depending on the ideological force behind them. We demonstrate how power differentials between chronotopes can account for certain interactional and linguistic patterns in conversation. The power inherent in chronotopes that link nationhood with specific languages makes the notions of discrete languages and static identities 'real' for our participants. Therefore, discussions of language and identity as flexible and socially constructed, we argue, must not obscure the power of these notions in shaping the perceptions of sociolinguistic subjects. (Chronotope, ethnolinguistic identity, power, Uzbek, Azeri/Azerbaijani, nationalism, language mixing, language ideology)