DM Master's Thesis

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  • British Expatriate Bloggers in the US:

    Attitudes, Identities and Language Use

    Masterarbeit

    zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades

    Master of Arts (M.A.)

    der Philologischen, Philosophischen und Wirtschafts- und

    Verhaltenswissenschaftlichen Fakultt der

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universitt

    Freiburg i. Br.

    vorgelegt von

    Dominique Moomaw

    aus Yorba Linda, CA, USA

    SS 2015

    Fach

    Erstgutachter: Prof. Dr. Christian Mair

  • Abstract

    This thesis is an investigation of the way that the changing attitudes and

    identities of British expatriate bloggers affect their language use in a blog over the

    course of their first two years living in the United States. It is also an examination of

    how the attitudes, identities and language of British migrants manifest in blogs. In an

    effort to determine whether British migrants positive attitudes and identification with

    the American community are linked to their acquisition and use of American English, I

    performed both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of five different blogs. While I

    found there to be no statistically significant correlation between language attitudes and

    language use, I did find that the bloggers self-perceived attitudes and attitude shifts,

    which differed from the attitude I detected in most blog posts, were more highly

    correlated with their use of British and American English. Three of the five bloggers

    renegotiated identities were also seen to be a reflection of their linguistic behavior.

    Lastly, my findings suggest that there was a strong relationship between the bloggers

    use of both British and American linguistic variants throughout the blogs, their

    readership and the context of living in the United States while writing their blog entries.

  • BRITISH EXPATRIATE BLOGGERS IN THE US i

    Acknowledgments

    First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor, Prof. Dr. Christian Mair,

    for getting me excited about the material, guiding me throughout the project and

    consistently providing me with valuable insight. I would also like to thank Veronique

    Lacoste for her useful suggestions and my second supervisor, Prof. Dr. Brigitte Halford,

    for sparking my interest in language and identity. I am also greatly indebted to one of

    my dearest friends, Julia Vagg, who not only supplied me with helpful resources and

    advice, but also gave me endless support when I needed it most. I am also immensely

    grateful to Mirka Honkanen who continually allowed me to pester her with questions,

    assisted me in coming up with a decent methodology and reviewed my final draft. Of

    course, I am also thankful to my very loving and supportive family Julie, Rob, Lexie,

    and Evan who despite living oceans away spoke with me weekly and kept me looking

    forward. I am grateful to all my Freiburg friends for the emotional support the

    afternoons in the park, the dinners, the wine and game nights, the dancing... all of which

    kept me sane.

    I would also like to express my deepest gratitude towards Doris and Werner

    Moser for being the most hospitable people in the world and providing me with the

    financial support I needed in order to focus on my studies. I am grateful to the

    University of Freiburg for accepting me into the Master's Program and giving me the

    opportunity to complete a project like this in one of the loveliest and quaintest little

    towns I have ever been. Finally, I would like to thank the person who is almost entirely

    responsible for my being able to live in Germany, successfully complete a Master's

    thesis and degree and ultimately find love, happiness and success in life, Ralph Moser. I

    dedicate this thesis to him.

  • BRITISH EXPATRIATE BLOGGERS IN THE US ii

    List of Tables

    Table 1. Characteristics of subjects ......................................................................................................... 36

    Table 2. Characteristics of analyzed data............................................................................................. 38

    Table 3. Correlation of attitudes to American society to... ............................................................. 67

  • BRITISH EXPATRIATE BLOGGERS IN THE US iii

    List of Figures

    Figure 1. Ajzen's (1988) hierarchical model of the construction of attitude. .........................8

    Figure 2. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 1, post # 1-80 (see Figure 3 for post # 81-160)................ 41

    Figure 3. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 1, post # 81-160 (see Figure 2 for post # 1-80). ............... 41

    Figure 4. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 1, post # 1-80 (see Figure 5 for post # 81-160). ............... 42

    Figure 5. The ratio of British to American orthographical variants in relation to the

    attitude to American society for Blog 1, post # 81-160 (see Figure 4 for post # 1-

    80). .............................................................................................................................................................. 43

    Figure 6. The ratio of British to American total variables in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 1, post # 1-80 (see Figure 7 for post # 81-160). ............... 44

    Figure 7. The ratio of British to American total variables in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 1, post # 81-160 (see Figure 6 for post # 1-80). ............... 44

    Figure 8. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 2.............................................................................................................. 48

    Figure 9. The ratio of British to American orthographical variants in relation to the

    attitude to American society for Blog 2....................................................................................... 49

    Figure 10. The ratio of British to American total variables in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 2.............................................................................................................. 50

  • BRITISH EXPATRIATE BLOGGERS IN THE US iv

    Figure 11. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 3.............................................................................................................. 52

    Figure 12. The ratio of British to American orthographical variants in relation to the

    attitude to American society for Blog 3....................................................................................... 53

    Figure 13. The ratio of British to American total variables in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 3.............................................................................................................. 54

    Figure 14. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 4.............................................................................................................. 57

    Figure 15. The ratio of British to American orthographical variants in relation to the

    attitude to American society for Blog 4....................................................................................... 58

    Figure 16. The ratio of British to American total variables in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 4.............................................................................................................. 58

    Figure 17. The ratio of British to American lexical variants in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 5.............................................................................................................. 62

    Figure 18. The ratio of British to American orthographical variants in relation to the

    attitude to American society for Blog 5....................................................................................... 63

    Figure 19. The ratio of British to American total variables in relation to the attitude to

    American society for Blog 5.............................................................................................................. 64

  • BRITISH EXPATRIATE BLOGGERS IN THE US v

    Table of Contents

    1. Introduction.. 1

    2. Literature Review.. 4

    2.1. Second Dialect Acquisition 4

    2.2. Attitudes 6

    2.2.1. Definition of attitude6

    2.2.2. Three components of attitude6

    2.2.3. Types of attitudes.. 8

    2.2.4. Measuring attitudes towards dialects...9

    2.2.4.1. Direct approaches9

    2.2.4.2. Indirect approaches.10

    2.2.4.3. Societal treatment approach..10

    2.3. Habitus and Identity11

    2.3.1. Historical background of Britain and America. 12

    2.3.2. Language ideologies.. 18

    2.3.2.1. Indexicality19

    2.3.2.2. Standardization in Britain and the US..21

    2.3.3. The self as a reflexive project.. 23

    2.3.3.1. Agency and acts of identity. 24

    2.4. Computer-mediated Communication and Migration..27

    2.4.1. Presentation o