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Language ideologies in social media: The case of Pastagate

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When inspectors from the Office québécois de la langue francçaise (OQLF) objected to the use of the word “pasta” in a Montreal restaurant in February 2013, a backlash in news and social media erupted internationally. Ensuing pressure led to the resignation of the OQLF head and a revision of OQLF language complaint procedures; the Pastagate story also contributed to mounting negativity towards the province and its language. Social media have been credited with playing a role in the proliferation of the story and its impact. Drawing on a corpus of Tweets containing PASTAGATE, this paper uses corpus-assisted discourse studies to explore language ideologies in English and French Tweets. Findings reveal divergent language ideologies and representations of the Pastagate affair. The paper concludes by suggesting that language ideological debates in a superdiverse online world may have implications for minority languages in the offline world of nation-states.
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Keywords: Canada; Twitter; language ideology; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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