Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Gibt es hässliche Sprachen? : Laiensprachbetrachtung zwischen Tabuisierung und Konzeptualisierung

Cuonz, Christina

In: Bulletin VALS-ASLA, 2010, vol. 91, p. 123-140

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    In my dissertation I investigate positive and negative aesthetic language judgements as well as affective language judgements by lay people. In the study at hand, the focus is exclusively on expressive negative folk metalanguage, i.e., negative aesthetic language judgements. By means of 280 semi-narrative interviews, judgements on the ugliness of languages were elicited in the Frenchspeaking and the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The folk metalinguistic discourse elicited in this way results rather from internal (mental / cognitive) conscious processes (concepts) than from percepts. As a consequence, respondents may consciously consider holding back certain information they actually have access to in their inner resources. This article addresses the question whether and to what extend lay people are willing to express negative aesthetic language judgements and, in addition to that, what processes and considerations are involved when people retain information deliberately. We identify languages and varieties which are salient in the negative folk metalanguage and show how lay people justify and conceptualise their negative aesthetic judgements.