Edited By Alexandra N. Lenz and Albrecht Plewnia
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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