Modeling language ideologies for the dynamics of languages in contact

Rosillo-Rodes, Pablo; San Miguel, Maxi; Sanchez, David
Chaos 11, 113117 (1-16) (2023)

In multilingual societies, it is common to encounter different language varieties. Various approaches have been proposed to discuss different mechanisms of language shift. However, current models exploring language shift in languages in contact often overlook the influence of language ideologies. Language ideologies play a crucial role in understanding language usage within a cultural community, encompassing shared beliefs, assumptions, and feelings towards specific language forms. These ideologies shed light on the social perceptions of different language varieties expressed as language attitudes. In this study, we introduce an approach that incorporates language ideologies into a model for contact varieties by considering speaker preferences as a parameter. Our findings highlight the significance of preference in language shift, which can even outweigh the influence of language prestige associated, for example, with a standard variety. Furthermore, we investigate the impact of the degree of interaction between individuals holding opposing preferences on the language shift process. Quite expectedly, our results indicate that when communities with different preferences mix, the coexistence of language varieties becomes less likely. However, variations in the degree of interaction between individuals with contrary preferences notably lead to non-trivial transitions from states of coexistence of varieties to the extinction of a given variety, followed by a return to coexistence, ultimately culminating in the dominance of the previously extinct variety. By studying finite-size effects, we observe that the duration of coexistence states increases exponentially with network size. Ultimately, our work constitutes a quantitative approach to the study of language ideologies in sociolinguistics.

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