A new language has been quickly spreading, as observed by linguist Nicholas Grenoble. The influx of English has been noticeable, with current immigrants and short-term workers mainly working with the language. On top of that, young people today are understanding English by way of different mediums such as motion pictures, video games, social media, and YouTube. Grenoble’s analysis aims to recognize the dynamics of this circumstance each linguistically and sociolinguistically. Especially, he desires to know who speaks which language, when, and with whom. He is also interested in how Greenlanders are understanding English and how it impacts their understanding and use of their mother tongue, Kalaallisut.
To collect data and answer these queries, Grenoble and project postdoc Jessica Kantarovich carried out observations in Nuuk, Greenland. One particular certain region of interest for them was the reports of Kalaallisut receiving shorter. Kalaallisut is a polysynthetic language, exactly where suffixes take on the function of words in languages like English. Grenoble gives an instance, explaining that the word “qujanaq” signifies “thank you.” By adding the suffix “-rsuaq,” which means “big,” the word becomes “qujanarsuaq,” which translates to “big thanks” or “thank you pretty considerably.” The researchers carried out interviews in Kalaallisut to identify if and how words have been receiving shorter. They also studied the every day use of the language.
In their analysis, Grenoble and Kantarovich also engage in participant-observation perform. They devote time in public areas, such as shops and restaurants, to observe the language usage. They spend consideration to who is working with which language in casual and short interactions. One particular certain concentrate for the scholars is the idea of shifting speakers, which refers to young people today in their homeland who cease understanding their parents’ minority language and shift to the majority language. This phenomenon is of excellent interest to Grenoble and his group.