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Dialect Emergence in Waumandee English

Ehrat, David N.

Dialect Emergence in Waumandee English

Series: New German-American Studies / Neue Deutsch-Amerikanische Studien - Volume 30

Year of Publication: 2008

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 214 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03910-911-1 br.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.320 kg, 0.705 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book examines how a new dialect emerges. It is based on empirical research carried out in Waumandee, Wisconsin, a small community set in a linguistically uncharted territory in North America. Waumandee English is influenced by the native languages of settlers who arrived from different parts of Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Austria and Ireland. Traditional dialectology augmented by sociolinguistic and psychological parameters enables the reader to follow the path of current dialect emergence in Waumandee English.


Contents: Waumandee history – Immigrants – Choice and defense of traditional dialect approach – Description of sample population – Setting up a questionnaire – Language change mechanisms in Waumandee – Different parameters governing the analysis – Ethnicity – Gender – Psychological factors of intercultural language acquisition – Dialect emergence and how a dialect can be defined against a standard – Family tree model and Wave Theory – Language contact in Waumandee – Establishing a lingua franca – Diachronic results from synchronic data – The dialect situation surrounding Waumandee – Vowel sounds – Great Vowel Shift – Consonant sounds – Metathesis – Grimm’s Law – Hypercorrections – Sandhi forms – Overview over the progressing changes in Waumandee English.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: David N. Ehrat studied English literature and linguistics, musicology and general linguistics at Zurich University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 2005.


«(...) Ehrat presents an in-depth and meticulously detailed description of individual consonant and vowel features as well as different processes of sound change at various stages of development. [...] this monograph is a strong contribution to the field of dialectology and American English linguistics.» (Lorie A. Vanchena, Yearbook of German-American Studies)


New German-American Studies. Vol. 30
General Editor: Don Heinrich Tolzmann