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Pluricentric Languages and Non-Dominant Varieties Worldwide

Part I: Pluricentric Languages across Continents. Features and Usage

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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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Euskara / Basque: The importance of status for the development of a pluricentric language

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Abstract

This paper presents Euskara, the Basque language and its varieties (dialects), spoken in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. The political status of Euskara differs according to the regions where it is spoken. Euskaltzaindia, the Royal Academy of the Basque Language, created Euskara batua, a standard form of the language, which has become well established in public life and media. Due to the creation of the unified language, its use in education and the increasing prestige of Euskara, we have seen a strong rise of Basque speakers in the past decades, although with varying numbers in the individual Basque regions. There is a decrease of Basque speakers in France. Time will show whether the positive trend in Spain can revert the negative development in France. Euskara is a pluricentric language. As opposed to other pluricentric languages, there is no single diatopic variety, but Euskara batua, the standardised form, is the dominant variety.

1.   Introduction

The Basque language is one of the oldest languages of Europe and is spoken by around 800,000 speakers in Spain and France. In this contribution I will present the Basque language, its existing varieties, the role of unification of the language and the importance of the political status for the development of this language.

2.   Euskara – The Basque language

2.1   History

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