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Civilization versus commerce : on the sociolinguistic effects of the deregulation of the TV market on Flemish public service broadcasting

Sarah Van Hoof (UGent)
(2018) LANGUAGE POLICY . 17(2). p.199-216
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Abstract
In the globalized economy, old metadiscursive regimes have been challenged by new conditions which are often considered to be more favourable to heteroglossic practices. In Flemish Belgium, the liberalization of the TV market is said to have transformed the broadcaster VRT from a public service aiming at educating viewers into a competitive corporation eager to commodify nonstandard language use to attract viewers. The broadcast media, traditionally a stronghold of the standard language, thus appear to have become a key site for the valorization of traditional vernaculars and hybrid linguistic practices drawing on both standard and vernacular speech forms. This paper confronts these impressions with empirical data and investigates the sociolinguistic impact of the deregulation of the Flemish TV market in detail. It does so by analyzing the discourses produced by the VRT's policy makers and the actual linguistic practices on the VRT during the monopolist and the commercial era. It points out how during the monopolist era the genre of comedy already provided a discursive space where the VRT's standard language policy could be subverted, and shows how a market discourse may have colonized the VRT's current language policy, but has left its original standardization ambitions by and large intact. The VRT is shown to nowadays commodify both standard and nonstandard speech forms, but in ways that do not fundamentally challenge the traditional order of high (standard) and low (nonstandard) speech styles. New corporate logics can thus be seen to reproduce rather than drastically alter linguistic hierarchies traditionally attributed to state actors.
Keywords
Public service television, Flanders, Commodification, Deregulation, Language ideology, Language regimentation, LANGUAGE, MEDIA, COMMODIFICATION, ENREGISTERMENT, IDENTITY

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MLA
Van Hoof, Sarah. “Civilization versus Commerce : On the Sociolinguistic Effects of the Deregulation of the TV Market on Flemish Public Service Broadcasting.” LANGUAGE POLICY                                            , vol. 17, no. 2, 2018, pp. 199–216.
APA
Van Hoof, S. (2018). Civilization versus commerce : on the sociolinguistic effects of the deregulation of the TV market on Flemish public service broadcasting. LANGUAGE POLICY                                            , 17(2), 199–216.
Chicago author-date
Van Hoof, Sarah. 2018. “Civilization versus Commerce : On the Sociolinguistic Effects of the Deregulation of the TV Market on Flemish Public Service Broadcasting.” LANGUAGE POLICY                                            17 (2): 199–216.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Hoof, Sarah. 2018. “Civilization versus Commerce : On the Sociolinguistic Effects of the Deregulation of the TV Market on Flemish Public Service Broadcasting.” LANGUAGE POLICY                                            17 (2): 199–216.
Vancouver
1.
Van Hoof S. Civilization versus commerce : on the sociolinguistic effects of the deregulation of the TV market on Flemish public service broadcasting. LANGUAGE POLICY                                            . 2018;17(2):199–216.
IEEE
[1]
S. Van Hoof, “Civilization versus commerce : on the sociolinguistic effects of the deregulation of the TV market on Flemish public service broadcasting,” LANGUAGE POLICY                                            , vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 199–216, 2018.
@article{8506311,
  abstract     = {In the globalized economy, old metadiscursive regimes have been challenged by new conditions which are often considered to be more favourable to heteroglossic practices. In Flemish Belgium, the liberalization of the TV market is said to have transformed the broadcaster VRT from a public service aiming at educating viewers into a competitive corporation eager to commodify nonstandard language use to attract viewers. The broadcast media, traditionally a stronghold of the standard language, thus appear to have become a key site for the valorization of traditional vernaculars and hybrid linguistic practices drawing on both standard and vernacular speech forms. This paper confronts these impressions with empirical data and investigates the sociolinguistic impact of the deregulation of the Flemish TV market in detail. It does so by analyzing the discourses produced by the VRT's policy makers and the actual linguistic practices on the VRT during the monopolist and the commercial era. It points out how during the monopolist era the genre of comedy already provided a discursive space where the VRT's standard language policy could be subverted, and shows how a market discourse may have colonized the VRT's current language policy, but has left its original standardization ambitions by and large intact. The VRT is shown to nowadays commodify both standard and nonstandard speech forms, but in ways that do not fundamentally challenge the traditional order of high (standard) and low (nonstandard) speech styles. New corporate logics can thus be seen to reproduce rather than drastically alter linguistic hierarchies traditionally attributed to state actors.},
  author       = {Van Hoof, Sarah},
  issn         = {1568-4555 },
  journal      = {LANGUAGE POLICY                                            },
  keywords     = {Public service television,Flanders,Commodification,Deregulation,Language ideology,Language regimentation,LANGUAGE,MEDIA,COMMODIFICATION,ENREGISTERMENT,IDENTITY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {199--216},
  title        = {Civilization versus commerce : on the sociolinguistic effects of the deregulation of the TV market on Flemish public service broadcasting},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10993-017-9431-9},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2018},
}

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