A European Perspective
Edited By Gabrielle Hogan-Brun
This collection of especially commissioned articles, written in English by internationally renowned experts, explores these and related questions. It draws together research on the status and role of German and on attitudes towards its use in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy (South Tyrol), France (Alsace), Denmark (Nordschleswig) and Hungary.
Alsatian: A Living Variety? A Sociolinguistic Study of Southern Alsace 221
Judith Broadbridge Alsatian: A Living Variety? A Sociolinguistic Study of Southern Alsace The geographical situation of Alsace at the crossroads of Europe has been a significant factor in shaping this region's political and linguistic history, resulting, as it has, in interaction between three different linguistic forms: French, Alsatian and German. It is proposed to briefly examine this historical background in order thereafter to understand and analyse the decline of Alsatian in the face of French domination, particularly since the Second World War. Discussion will focus on research carried out in Southern Alsace, in the department of the Haut-Rhin, more specifically in the urban location of Zillisheim, near Mulhouse. Analysis of a sociolinguistic telephone survey will attempt to highlight linguistic behaviour both passively, in relation to the media and actively, in terms of choices made in everyday personal and professional life. The devastating results of Alsatian's contact with French will thus be revealed. Attitudes to Alsatian will also be examined. 1 Introduction In linguistic terms, Alsace is situated to the east of a demarcation line which has traditionally separated French speakers from German ones. This language frontier is no longer a political divide between sovereign states, for Alsace has been part of France since the end of World War II. There are just three small pockets in the west of the region where a form of French has always been in evidence. In general terms, two varieties, French and Alsatian, coexist on Alsatian territory. French is the official language, as it...
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