In Memory of Michael Clyne- In Collaboration with Catrin Norrby, Leo Kretzenbacher, Carla Amorós
Edited By Rudolf Muhr
Nils LANGER: Finding non-dominant languagesin the nineteenth century – problems and potentials from historical sociolinguistics
In: Rudolf Muhr (ed.) (2012): Non-dominant varieties of pluricentric languages. Getting the picture. In memory of Michael Clyne. Vienna et. al., Peter Lang Verlag. p. 83-106. Nils LANGER (Universität Kiel, Germany and University of Bristol, UK) email@example.com Finding non-dominant languages in the nineteenth century – problems and potentials from historical sociolinguistics1 Abstract This chapter sketches the sociolinguistics of non-dominant languages in nineteenth-century northern Germany where 3 non-dominant and 2 dominant languages co-exist. Addressing the problem of finding robust evidence for the existence, use, and status of non-dominant languages from historical periods, this paper will offer evidence from a number of text types to demonstrate how the historical sociolinguistic reality can be reconstructed despite an impoverished data set. 1. Language contact and language conflict The coexistence of dominant vs. non-dominant languages presupposes particular types of language contact. It can be argued that any kind of language contact will result in a hierarchical ordering of the linguistic varieties involved. This does not necessarily lead to absolute preferences of one language over the other - which would surely result in language loss - but with regard to particular domains, one variety or language will be used more frequently or with more prestige than the other. Such domain-specific distribution does not necessarily lead to language conflict, however. During the Middle Ages, Latin was the un- challenged language of education and the church in Central Europe and yet its 1 I am grateful to the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation (Bonn) and the British Academy (London) for...
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