Looking at the observations made by my groupmates I can see many similarities between the different locations. They all matched the expectations I had about the religious domain before the project began. It is clear to me that these religious centres have a strong attachment to language, this is largely due to the focus on divine communication as Spolsky suggests. For many who practice these religions there is the belief that there is a holy language used for prayer and religious study and other matters should be referred to in one’s native or home language. This was seen in the Hindu temple and the two synagogues. However it has been interesting to discover how linguistically dynamic these religious centres, one could easily believe that the only languages spoken would be English and the language of the religion yet this is not the case. As seen in the Coptic Church there is Mandarin spoken as well, whilst the Hindu temple has speakers of multiple languages from India and Sri Lanka which leads to a lot of language mixing and code-switching. There also was not a clear distinction between the religious and non religious language with many interviewees speaking both the religious and non religious languages in their home and social life. On the other hand the Greek church did have this distinction between the languages with all services including the sermon being in Greek with the social interactions being in English. This may be because the Greek church community is largely second and third generation migrants which means they may not have enough knowledge of Greek to maintain a conversation. Overall there have been more similarities than differences between the sites which highlight the unique nature of the religious domain as opposed to the nature of the specific sites.
Gabriella Gluch z5017624