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Grammar between Norm and Variation


Edited By Alexandra N. Lenz and Albrecht Plewnia

The articles collected in this volume offer the most various access to the discussed questions on norm and variation. In their entirety, they reflect the current discussion of the topic. Focusing on the object languages German and English ensures a high level of topical consistency. On the other hand, the four large topic areas (emergence and change of norms and grammatical constructions; relationship of codes of norms and ‘real’ language usage; competition of standard and non-standard language norms; and subsistent norms of minority languages and «institutionalised second-language varieties») cover a large range of relevant issues, thereby certainly giving an impetus to new and further investigations.


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Claudia Maria Riehl: Norm and variation in language minority settings 275


Claudia Maria Riehl (Köln) Norm and variation in language minority settings 1. Introduction 1.1 General observations In discussions on norms and variations, minorities represent an exceedingly in- teresting subject. This applies particularly to non-local minorities which are mi- norities in one setting but are part of a majority elsewhere. One of the largest examples of this type of group are German-speaking minorities who use German as their first language but belong to a nation with a different official first lan- guage.1 When looking at the question of norms in this particular context, the concept of pluricentric languages introduced by Kloss (1978), appears to be a helpful model (cf. Clyne 1992: 1). A pluricentric language is a language with various interacting centers, where each center codifies its own national norms. The relationship between national varieties is dynamic and interactive since they are affected by mutual influences. However, the actual differences are not sig- nificant, in most cases. In addition, pluricentricity is, for the most part, asym- metrical. National varieties of more dominant nations are traditionally more prestigious (cf. Clyne 1995: 21). Ammon (1995) also differentiates between Vollzentren (full centers), Halbzentren (semi-centers) and Subzentren (sub- centers). Full centers represent language communities that have developed codices (dictionaries, spelling and pronunciation guides, grammars), e.g. Germany, Aus- tria and Switzerland, whereas semi-centers have no own codices at their disposal – only models (model speakers/writers and model texts). They constitute re- gional communities in different-speaking nations, e.g. Luxembourg, South Tyrol and East Belgium. These groups have...

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