Themenheft 88/2021 – Abstracts


Sprache und Rassismus

Hg. v. Mi-Cha Flubacher

Die Ausgabe 88/2021 der WLG steht als vollständiges Heft (PDF) oder in Form der einzelnen Beiträge (s.u.) zur Verfügung.

Sprache und Rassismus. Einleitung zum Themenheft

Mi-Cha Flubacher

This introduction contextualises the contributions to this special issue in the two marking events of 2020, i.e. the Covid-19-pandemic and the Black Lives Matter-movement. It will briefly outline the challenges and stakes of research on language and race, first and foremost by touching on terminological issues that differ in Europa vs. the United States. Further, it will argue for the genre of the essay for discussing issues around language and racism, and, finally present each essay contribution to this special issue. These essays offer a broad thematical, methodological, and stylistic range: from auto-ethnographic accounts and reflections on experiences with racism and/or whiteness to papers on selected issues, e.g. the discrimination against speakers of Jamaican Patwa or racist discursive strategies in political discussions of Covid-19. 

Schlagwörter: Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft, race, Rassismus, Essay


The social status of Jamaican Patwa. Systematic invalidation of the language spoken by Jamaican immigrants in the United Kingdom

Paige Ruth Isobel Anderson

Das jamaikanische Kreolisch genießt im Vereinigten Königreich wenig Prestige. In Bildungsinstitutionen sowie in den Medien werden Sprecher*innen des Jamaikanisch-Kreolischen systematisch diskriminiert. Jamaikanisches Kreolisch wird in Schulen nicht als Sprache anerkannt, sondern als fehlerhaftes Englisch wahrgenommen. Darstellungen von jamaikanischem Kreolisch in Filmen und Serien enthalten oft rassistische Stereotypen und die Sprache wird häufig mit Kriminalität assoziiert. Dieser Artikel zeigt Beispiele dieser Diskriminierung auf und erläutert die negativen Konsequenzen davon.

Schlagwörter: Kreolsprachen, Black British English, Jamaican Patwa, Diskriminierung, rassistische Stereotypisierung


What's othering got to do with me? Über ›die Anderen‹ und ›uns‹

Laura Bürger

In the following essay, structural as well as everyday racism is discussed from multiple perspectives. By describing everyday situations, I aim at uncovering prevailing racist narratives and practices. I trace the origins of some racialized descriptions and nominations and make them visible in present day discourse. Finally, I shed light on current examples of language policy in different regions of the world and the role of scholarship in the process of racialization. With all of these elaborations, I try to show the everyday involvement of each one of us in racist practices and processes.

Schlagwörter: Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft, Sprach(en)politik, Alltagsrassismen, Othering, Kolonialismus


Menschen, Tiere und ihr Platz im Diskurs. Wie die Debatte um einen Corona-Impfstoff kolonialistische Denkmuster offenbart

Katharina Dieck

This essay deals with a scandal spread by the media at the beginning of the corona pandemic in Europe in April 2020. In a television interview, two French physicians had made the case for testing a potential vaccine in Africa. Via social media, under the hashtag #AfricansAreNotLabRats, the statements were soon interpreted as dehumanizing and colonialist ideas. By drawing a connection to the fields of animal ethics and moral psychology, I will discuss the media responses and the human-animal analogies that are present in them. Finally, I claim that the specific form of resistance in social media shows something more profound about the way we engage in colonialist power structures: We still define ourselves as human beings by distancing us from other beings along a social hierarchy whose roots go back to colonial history.

Schlagwörter: Diskursanalyse, Othering, Postkolonialismus, Corona, Mensch-Tier-Vergleiche


Alte Strukturen – Neue Probleme: Die Verwendung alter rassistischer Feindbilder im Corona-Virus-Diskurs

Lena Kovacic

The coronavirus first appeared prominently in political discourse in the USA and Europe at the beginning of 2020. Focusing on Austria and the US, I discuss differences and similarities between the rhetoric used by prominent politicians and the way their discourse strategies connect to racialized perceived enemies, previously established in public discourse. Some clear continuities can be identified here with discursive actors in both countries using remarkably similar strategies to convey these connections. These strategies are discussed also within the given context of the US presidential election 2020 and the Viennese election 2020. 

Schlagwörter: Sprachwissenschaft, Diskursanalyse, Corona-Virus, Rassismus


Rassismus in aller Munde. Über die Rolle der Sprache im Ent- und Bestehen rassistischer Praktiken

Sonja Kunz

This essay aims to offer an argumentation basis to encourage sensitive language use in our fellow humans. I argue that racism and language are inseparably connected for two reasons: First, racist thoughts and attitudes are not only expressed through but also shaped by language practices. Second, the idea of race itself is a discursive construct. Therefore, in order to combat systematic racism, it is essential to use language in a sensitive way and especially avoid expressions with racist connotations. Still, many people continue to use these expressions, claiming that they mean no harm. In this essay, I explain some people’s persistent use of racist vocabularies with two psychological theories: the theory of cognitive dissonance and theory of reactance. Eventually, I discuss possible strategies how to approach people who use racist vocabulary. 

Schlagwörter: Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachenpolitik, Rassismus, kognitive Dissonanz, Reaktanz


weiße unterschiede

Hannah-Seraphina Prendecky

To provide a perspective on the blind spot of one’s own ‘whiteness’, an auto-ethnographic method is used in this essay. The goal will be to obtain a new/different narrative structure along randomly selected segments of memory and thus a new perspective on one’s own past self and (›white‹) growing up. With a special focus on the interplay of language, identity formation, social positioning, and stereotyped expectations, various theoretical concepts are used as templates to better trace the effect of socially constructed categories such as ‘white’. Especially related to my lived experience of growing up as a white and therefore privileged young woman, there is a need to reflect on the influence and impact of this social determinant in my coming of age. This essay aims to establish a relationship between acquired theoretical knowledge about postcolonial theories, language policy, racism, and critical whiteness and what is experienced, without ignoring or even concealing one’s own well-placed social position. The written thoughts show that further critical reflection and deeper theoretical and practical discussions are needed to better trace the blind spot mentioned at the beginning. 

Schlagwörter: Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachenpolitik, Autoethnographie, kritisches Weißsein


Sprache und Alltagsrassismus. »Aber woher kommst du wirklich?«

Katharina Zaboj

In current times, racism is an issue more relevant and spoken about than ever. Even though awareness concerning the topic seems to grow, it is undeniable that racism is deeply ingrained in society and encountered by many people on a day-to-day basis. The goal of this essay is to explore linguistic aspects of everyday racism, talk about the role language plays in this issue and reflect upon the underlying problem concerning racism and language. 

Schlagwörter: Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachenpolitik, Alltagsrassismus


Who is not on the list? Navigating white academia

Sibo Kanobana

In onderstaande auto-etnografische tekst reflecteert Sibo Kanobana over een alledaags voorval aan een Europese universiteit tijdens de corona-pandemie van 2020. Daarbij toont hij aan hoe alledaags racisme in werking treedt in een witte academische omgeving en hoe een klein voorval het zelfbeeld van de betrokkene aantast. De tekst beschrijft vervolgens hoe op die manier zelftwijfel aangewakkerd wordt en bijdraagt tot de moeilijkheid om in een witte wereld zonder schroom over racisme te praten. 

Schlagwörter: structural racism, whiteness, academia