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Invisible Languages in the Nineteenth Century

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Anna Havinga and Nils Langer

The great linguistic diversity of spoken languages contrasts greatly with the much smaller number of languages used in written discourse. Many linguistic varieties – in particular, regional and minority languages – are not deemed suitable for writing because they do not possess the necessary lexical wealth or grammatical complexity. Such prejudices are commonplace amongst non-linguists and they have their origin in the sociolinguistic history of their speaker communities.
This book focuses on the nineteenth century as the time when language became an important part of the cultural identity of speakers, communities and nations. It comprises fourteen chapters on a variety of languages and countries and seeks to explore why and how certain linguistic varieties were excluded from written discourse – in other words, why they remain invisible to contemporary readers and modern historians. The case studies in this book illustrate the factors involved in the invisibilisation of languages in the nineteenth century; the metalinguistic debates about the suppression or promotion of regional, minority and non-standard languages; and the ways in which a careful study of informal writing can visibilise the linguistic diversity of spoken languages.

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List of Figures

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Figures Figure 2.1: Subscribers to Turner 1813 45 Figure 2.2: Subscribers to O’Sullivan 1802 46 Figure 2.3: Religious Tract Society pamphlet, nineteenth century 47 Figure 3.1: The opening pages of Quintuprai’s testimony (in Lenz 1897: 119–120) 63 Figure 3.2: Reverend Sadleir with Ambrosio Paillalef, translating the scriptures (in Menard and Pavez, eds 2007: 64) 65 Figure 4.1: Balbina H.’s letter to Anna (page 1) (Archiv des Bezirkskrankenhauses Kaufbeuren, file No. 1996) 89 Figure 4.2: Balbina H.’s letter to Babetha (page 1) (Archiv des Bezirkskrankenhauses Kaufbeuren, file No. 1996) 90 Figure 5.1: Kupfermühle / Kobbermølle in Schleswig (HM The Queen’s Reference Library, Copenhagen, GK 9–3) 101 Figure 10.1: Language distribution in the province of Posen, based on vol. 234 of Prussian statistical data (in Belzyt 1998) 209 Figure 11.1: Schleicher’s first linguistic family tree (1853b: 331) 233 Figure 13.1: e-apocope versus using the ending -e in feminine nouns (in percentages) 268 Figure 13.2: Stigmatisation of Austria’s regional varieties in the Teutsches Namen- oder Lehrbüchl (c. 1750) 272

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