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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Global Orientation and Sociolinguistic Accommodation as Factors in Cultural Assimilation

Gregory R. Guy, Karen V. Beaman.

Globalisation entails a variety of international/intercultural experiences for individuals, and consequently different kinds of linguistic contact with speakers of other language varieties. How do speakers' attitudes and orientation towards the intercultural experience relate to their linguistic accommodation and cultural assimilation? The degree of assimilation into a foreign community can be associated with the individual’s "global mindset" or predisposition toward a particular way of thinking about international experience. Sullivan’s (2001) categorization of global mindsets into ethnocentric (minimally accommodating), polycentric (highly accommodating), and geocentric (developing multiple identities) provides a functional model that can be extended to account for degrees of cultural assimilation along a continuum. Linguistic accommodation involves a similar continuum, from non-accommodating language maintenance to complete language shift. This paper explores the relationship of mindset and linguistic accommodation among individuals with a variety of international experiences, examining the mutually predictive value of the development of linguistic fluency and social factors such as participation in local communities of practice and the development of personal social networks in the contact situation, and the implications of this for the richness and effectiveness of the individual’s international experience.


Gregory R. Guy  (United States)
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics
New York University

Gregory R. Guy (BA Boston, MA, PhD Pennsylvania) specializes in the study of language variation. He is Professor of Linguistics at NYU, and has taught at Sydney, Temple, Cornell, Stanford, and York, and Linguistic Institutes of the LSA (1993, 1997, 2003) and the Associação Brasileira de Lingüística (1999). His research has investigated language change, language contact, quantitative methods, and sociolinguistic diversity, in Brazil, Australia, the USA, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina.

Karen V. Beaman  (United States)
Division Vice President
Global Professional Services

Karen Beaman is responsible for the coordination and delivery of ADP’s global professional services across the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific. She is the co-founder and current the Editor-in-Chief of the IHRIM Journal. Her new book Boundaryless HR: Human Capital Management in the Global Economy has just be released. This year she received IHRIM's Summit Award, recognizing her outstanding achievement in the field of human resources and technology.

  • Global Mindset
  • Linguistic Accommodation
  • Language Contact
  • Globalisation
  • Orientation

(30 min Conference Paper, English)