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“You are some Foreigner – You are not even from this Country”: Comparative Perspectives on Historical and Contemporary Diasporas in an Irish Context

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Karen CorriganORCiD


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This chapter is a comparative analysis of two corpora, one of which is diachronic and the other synchronic. Each can be mined when exploring topical issues connected with the sociolinguistics of mobility, such as identity, ideology, inequality, socialisation and transculturalism. The historical database dates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is a corpus of Irish emigrants’ personal correspondence capturing their transcultural experiences as conceptualised in their letters from Argentina and the United States of America. The contemporary corpus comprises sociolinguistic interviews conducted between 2013 and 2016 with indigenous and immigrant youngsters that include personal narratives of experience exploring the linguistic and sociological consequences of superdiversity in Northern Ireland. In particular, the study described is an investigation of the emotional load of identity nouns such as ‘home’ in order to compare and contrast the experiences of the historical Irish diaspora with those of new migrants to Ireland in the twenty-first century. Striving to shed light on the emotional repercussions of transculturalism, the present investigation addresses two main research questions. First, what do personal historical correspondence and contemporary narratives of experience reveal about the impact of migration as a socialisation process? Second, to what extent do such emotional experiences influence the way in which identity markers such as ‘Irishness’, ‘Polishness’ or ‘foreignness’ are constructed? Outcomes of the study include the fact that ‘home’ in both datasets turned out to be one of the most frequent and highly salient terms in the sphere of diasporic identity construction. It was also interesting that its collocates showed high degrees of similarity across both datasets, irrespective of the potential differences in external factors (such as style) that might have precipitated these.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Amador-Moreno CP, Avila-Ledesma NE, Corrigan KP

Editor(s): Lucek S; Amador-Moreno CP

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Expanding the Landscapes of Irish English Research: Papers in Honour of Dr Jeffrey L. Kallen

Year: 2021

Pages: 38-53

Print publication date: 30/11/2021

Online publication date: 29/11/2021

Acceptance date: 23/09/2019

Series Title: Routledge Studies in Sociolinguistics

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: New York


DOI: 10.4324/9781003025078-2

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780367856397