Language Choice in the Instagram Captions of Kazakh Celebrities

Abisheva, Dilbar (2022) Language Choice in the Instagram Captions of Kazakh Celebrities. MA/MSc thesis, BCE Kommunikáció és Szociológia Intézet, Kommunikáció- és Médiatudomány Tanszék.

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One of the linguistic phenomena within the discussion of sociolinguistics is code-switching, often emerging in a bilingual and multilingual communities. Code-switching is an everyday reality in Kazakhstan, where more than one language is spoken in everyday communication. The unique phenomenon of code-switching may potentially inform us about the visibility, accessibility, and status of languages in contemporary societies. At the same time, the rise of new media has offered a new discourse on the dynamism of language. Instagram is a platform where people with different backgrounds are actively communicating and interacting with each other. The study is intended to provide meaningful insight into the linguistic practices of Kazakh users on a social media platform and examine how they manifest their language choices online. The data of this study were collected from captions posted by the top ten most-followed Kazakh celebrities throughout the 2021 year. To yield insightful information on language choice and investigate their reasons, the study approached interactional sociolinguistics (Gumperz, 1982), discourse analysis, conversation analysis (Auer, 1995), and Hoffman’s (1991) function classification. The analysis of the data from our corpus of 1000 posts revealed that Kazakh was preferable to Russian, whereas the use of English was considerably lower. In addition, almost a quarter of the corpus datawas marked with code-switching posts establishing the presence of this phenomenon. The study indicates that Kazakh celebrities often switch from Kazakh to Russian or English in order to provide information in two or three languages in a single post, express in-group solidarity feelings with a focus on national identity, to communicate in the fastest and easiest way through habitual expressions as well as due to lack of an equal translation in the native language. Compared with previous studies found in the literature, the findings tend to demonstrate many similarities regarding the use and functions of CS in contexts of online environments. It is hoped that the present study will be significant in developing a new understanding of code-switching in the online environment of Kazakhstan as well as offer insightful cultural and sociological implications for further research in this direction.

Item Type:MA/MSc thesis
Subjects:Media and communication
ID Code:15321
Specialisation:Communication and Media Science
Deposited On:26 Jan 2023 13:32
Last Modified:26 Jan 2023 13:32

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