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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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National variation in the German language of science



The study shows the acceptance of Swiss idiosyncrasies (Helvetisms) in German for academic use. The role of Helvetisms in German for Academia will be presented in three ways: first through the introduction of written norms, second by qualitative study with norm setters and third via a quantitative online survey with students. There are few norms about using Helvetisms in German for Academia. Interviews with college norm setters indicated that they do not correct Helvetisms in student documentation, but almost half of all interviewees reject the use of Helvetisms in scientific publications. This contradiction can be explained by the fact that the questioned university-lecturers were aware of the concept of pluricentricity. The rejection of Swiss Standard German is an issue: students view variations in standard German as a deficit or actively avoid Helvetisms. This „norm“ in academia is problematic not only for the pluricentricity of German but also for linguistic identity.

1.   Introduction

The pluricentricity of German has permeated many areas of linguistics. Codification of the varieties (Austriacisms, Helvetisms, and Deutschlandisms) is advancing. With the 2004 release of Variantenwörterbuch, an important reference book was made available to norm setters and language professionals (Ammon et al. 2004). In spite of progress in the recognition of the equivalence of the national varieties of German, the pluricentricity of German is not yet acknowledged in other important areas. The lack of acceptance is especially prominent in German for Academia (language of science) where it is...

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