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Metalinguistic Perspectives on Germanic Languages

European Case Studies from Past to Present


Gijsbert Rutten and Kristine Horner

In what ways has language been central to constructing, challenging and reconfiguring social and political boundaries? This volume traverses space and time to explore the construction of such boundaries. Focusing on the ways that language functions as an inclusive and divisive marker of identity, the volume includes case studies on Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium  and Luxembourg. It also explores the northern and southern borderlands of present-day Germany as well as the city of Cologne and the surrounding Ruhr area. The chapters critically engage with focused accounts of past and present language situations, practices and policies. Taken as a whole, the volume stresses the importance of studying metalinguistic perspectives as a means of enabling detailed analyses and challenging generalizations.
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10 ‘Sprache der Heimat’: Discourses of Dialect and Identity in Modern-Day Cologne


1 Introduction

Associating language with Heimat is not a new phenomenon. Heidegger’s lecture ‘Sprache und Heimat’ [Language and Home]1 (1960), for example, articulated the fundamental yet intangeable relationship between dialect as the mother tongue and a sense of ‘home’ (Heidegger 1983: 155–80), and philosophers and linguists alike have attempted to analyse how language can create and represent a sense of belonging in a ‘fusion of language and landscape’ (Hammermeister 2000: 314). This connection is particularly strong with dialect, which in modern times is largely reserved for the familiar, private sphere, or is employed symbolically as a marker of local identity.

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