Jan Blommaert is Finland Distinguished Professor of Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and Professor of Linguistic Anthropology at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.
He has published widely on language ideologies and language inequality in Africa and Europe, with highlights such as Grassroots Literacy (Routledge, 2008), Discourse: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge University Press 2005), Language Ideological Debates (edited, Mouton de Gruyter 1999), State Ideology and Language in Tanzania (Köppe 1999) and Debating Diversity (with Jef Verschueren, Routledge 1998).
He is member of the editorial board of numerous journals, including Language in Society, Discourse and Society, Current Anthropology and Applied Linguistics.
Supervernacularization and authenticity
The internet and other forms of mobile communication are changing patterns of communication and the construction of social communities in a dramatic way. One effect of this new communication environment is, on the one hand, increasing superdiversity in communication patterns and networks; on the other hand we see the construction of what we could call 'supercommunities': technologically enabled communities of users spread across various parts of the globe but interacting intensely with one another. Such supergroups create supervernaculars: new codes and 'standards' that emerge rapidly and can disappear as quickly, but that bear all the features of 'normal' language processes such as creolization and standardization. The creation of supervernaculars goes hand in hand with another elementary sociolinguistic process: the creation of 'dialects' of the supervernaculars, forms of 'localization' of global templates in which the affordances of such global teplates are exploited to proceed to 'deglobalized', local or regional codes. This dynamic of affordances, in which global features expand the range of things that can be 'localized', produce a new dyanmic of authenticity. Groups and individuals can now construct forms of authenticity that to a large extend depend on 'bringing down' global features into local orders of indexicality, while still retaining their indexical recognizablility at global scale-levels. This new polycentric set of processes amounts to the creation of new cultures, orienting towards and incorporating several concurrent orders of indexicality, and with authenticity as the ultimate norm.