Sarah Raymon z5088056

We looked at 5 different religious domains, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church, the Hindu Temple, the Sephardi Synagogue and the Jewish Learning Centre. Spolsky tells us that language use within the religious domain has a phenomena called ‘divine communication’, and although we see this somewhat in our respective observed speech communities in that each one uses a specific ethnic language for religious purposes, what we overwhelmingly observed was that each of these speech communities seemed to coincide with a particular immigrant demographic. Because of this language serves a very specific purpose beyond simply being a religious communicator.

Because of this, each community is centred around supporting and maintaining ethnolinguistic culture. These sites act as a locality in which these respective immigrant communities can both engage in their culture and language as well as preserve and pass them on to the second and third generations.

Something that we recognised across all of these domains is the fact the ethnic language is spoken under somewhat limited parameters. In all of these communities it seems that English is the dominant language used in social interaction and even signage, and the ethnic language is used in religious ceremony and service, is used somewhat as jargon in the context of code-switchings and is used in social interaction only by recent immigrants or the older members of the community.

This is rather telling of the issues facing these communities. The majority of congregants are more fluent in English and there fore the chosen language in the social realm seems to be English in each case, as the younger generations have less and less connection to their heritage and ethnolinguistic culture outside of this domain and their homes, unless they are also attending a school that supports their culture.

Sarah

 

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