Social Network Integration, Norm Enforcement and Accent Perceptions in Indian Transient Student Communities

  • Giuliana Regnoli University of Regensburg
Keywords: accent variation, Indian Englishes, language maintenance, network structure, transient multilingual speech communities


The present paper aims to shed new light on the closely related concepts of social network and community of practice by taking into account a transient community of Indian university students located in Heidelberg, Germany. By drawing on qualitative and quantitative data collected through sociolinguistic interviews and questionnaires, the paper will analyse the locally contracted ties that the community members construct in their everyday lives in relation to their linguistic practices within and outside their student community. The results show that the transient aspect of the community is a valuable sociolinguistic factor in the fostering of in-group affiliations. The relatively short-lived context at issue promotes language maintenance practices which, in turn, structure internal network subgroups based on ethnicity. Here, the density and the multiplexity of the network support the speakers’ first languages resisting institutional pressures to language shift.