In Memory of Michael Clyne- In Collaboration with Catrin Norrby, Leo Kretzenbacher, Carla Amorós
Edited By Rudolf Muhr
John HAJEK: (Non-) dominant varieties of a (non-)pluricentric language?Italian in Italian and Switzerland
In: Rudolf Muhr (ed.) (2012): Non-dominant Varieties of pluricentric Languages. Getting the Picture. In memory of Michael Clyne. Wien et. al., Peter Lang Verlag. p. 155-166. John HAJEK (University of Melbourne, Australia) firstname.lastname@example.org (Non-) dominant varieties of a (non-)pluricentric language? Italian in Italian and Switzerland Abstract This chapter is an initial foray into the question of Italian as a possible pluricentric language. In contrast to other large languages of Western Europe, Italian is strikingly absent from the existing literature on pluricentricity - presumably because Italian is overwhelmingly spoken only in one country: Italy. However, in this preliminary study Italian is seen to show some signs of pluricentricity - best described as diffuse or weak, both within and beyond Italy's national borders. 1. Introduction In any discussion of pluricentric languages in Europe (e.g. Clyne, 1992 and Pöll, 2005), Italian is notably absent. Yet like other major European languages, recognised by all as pluricentric, it is spoken as a primary language in more than one country. It also has protected regional status in others. In what is only an initial foray into the question of Italian as a possible pluricentric language, a comparison is first made between Italian's official status with that of English, French and German in Europe, before our attention is turned to the specific (non-)pluricentric/(non-)dominating characteristics of Italian. Even a brief analysis shows that Italian is unusual amongst these four major European languages in a number of respects. Within Italy, three competing centres...
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