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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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Variety contact and the codification of pluricentric German: An analysis of Austrian German markers inherited from Romance varieties



This paper asks whether the numerous lexical transferences of Romance origin should be re-evaluated as markers of the Austrian standard variety of German and as grounds for the linguistic distinction from the standard German of Germany. Their recent increase in symbolic meaning is evident in the mini-list of Austria-specific terms recognized by the EU in 1994 and 2004. Starting with past conditions of migration, the present study traces the use of selected French-, Italian- and Friulian-derived lexical items into the present, drawing on the database of the Austrian Media Corpus (AMC). The analyzed data on language use in the media partly show an increase in frequency but also indicate an east-to-west incline of increasingly exonormative orientation of varieties. However, the substitution of Romance-based lexical markers by patterns of Standard German German also implies a loss of culture and identity, symbolizing the deterioration of bridges especially to the southern neighbor languages of Austrian German.

1.   Areal language contact and territorial conflict of national standard varieties

The large number of varieties to be observed across German-speaking countries can be adequately characterized from the joint perspective of areal and sociolinguistics only if we include the concrete loans based on contact between varieties, in particular those at the periphery of this continuum. The results of these long-standing contacts with varieties of Romance, Slavic, further Germanic and other languages determine the landscape of the diatopic variation of German to this day. The presentation of these varieties...

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