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Pluricentric Languages and Non-Dominant Varieties Worldwide

Part I: Pluricentric Languages across Continents. Features and Usage


Edited By Rudolf Muhr

This is the first of two thematically arranged volumes with papers that were presented at the "World Conference of Pluricentric Languages and their non-dominant Varieties" (WCPCL). It comprises papers about 20 PCLs and 14 NDVs around the world. The second volume encompasses a further 17 papers about the pluricentricity of Portuguese and Spanish. The conference was held at the University of Graz (Austria) on July 8th-11th 2015. The papers fall into five categories: (1) Theoretical aspects of pluricentricity and the description of variation; (2) Different types of pluricentricity in differing environments; (3) African pluricentric languages and non-dominant varieties; (4) The pluricentricity of Arabic and Asian languages; (5) The pluricentricity of European languages inside Europe (Austrian German, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Hungarian, Belgium Dutch, French, Greek, Swedish, Russian).

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Second-level pluricentricity in the Persian of Tehran



While Persian has been discussed as a pluricentric language (Spooner 2012, Miller et al. 2013), this paper investigates second-level pluricentricity within the Iranian national variety, also known as Farsi. Farsi is to some extent diglossic (Jeremias 1984, Perry 2003), and this paper focuses on its spoken (L), or colloquial, variety. The Tehrani dialect is often taken as the basis of the standardized colloquial variety (Windfuhr 1979), and this paper explores variation within Tehran in order to clarify the features, both linguistic and attitudinal, that characterize the varieties found there. Recently, Saeli (forthcoming) has distinguished between Tehrani and Jonoub Shahri Tehrani (south city Tehrani), considering sociolinguistic (i.e. language attitudes) and pragmatic features. In our study, Jonoub Shahri Tehrani is explored as a non-dominant variety; the factors which distinguish it from Tehrani linguistically, attitudinally, and functionally, are clarified along with the ability of listeners to identify it.

1.   Second-level pluricentricity

According to Muhr (2000),

“Within the individual varieties of a pluricentric language, there is usually also a second level of pluricentricity, which arises from the large-scale variation within countries and which is associated with particular political and social circumstances” (translation by authors).

As in the case of first-level pluricentricity, there undoubtedly exist both dominant and non-dominant varieties. The dominant variety of a language within a nation state is usually known as the “standard”. Many languages have both a written and a spoken standard, whether or not officially codified. Non-dominant...

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