JOPOL 6(2022)

Tracing Ontological Shift in Interaction: The Role of Language Labels in the Co-Construction of Language Attitudes Among Yurakaré People
Sonja Gipper

In this paper, I take an ontological and interactional approach to language attitudes among the Yurakaré of Bolivian Amazonia. Focusing on the use of language labels, I investigate the interactional co-construction of language attitudes, arguing that these are contingent upon an ongoing ontological shift from an Indigenous to a Western conception of language that is interwoven with language shift and becomes tangible in the data. Taking an ontological perspective makes it possible to understand the immensity of the linguistic rupture, as it acknowledges that people do not just shift from one language to another, but that their way of conceptualizing what is in the world is deeply altered. 

Keywords: attitude alignment, equivocation, language labels, language ontology, language shift, ontological shift, social interaction, Spanish, Yurakaré