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Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages. Getting the Picture

In Memory of Michael Clyne- In Collaboration with Catrin Norrby, Leo Kretzenbacher, Carla Amorós

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Rudolf Muhr

This volume comprises 28 papers presented at the 1 st International Conference on Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages in Graz (Austria) in July 2011. The conference was also held in memory of Michael Clyne – eminent linguist, scholar, language enthusiast and advocate of multilingualism who died in October 2010. The volume pays homage to his important contributions in many fields of linguistics and in the theory of pluricentric languages. The conference in Graz was the first international event to document the situation of non-dominant varieties world-wide in order to identify common or diverging features. It provided substantial insights into the codification and in corpus and status planning of non-dominant varieties. The volume deals with 18 languages and 31 different national and other varieties in 29 countries of the world.

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John HAJEK: (Non-) dominant varieties of a (non-)pluricentric language?Italian in Italian and Switzerland

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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) j.hajek@unimelb.edu.au (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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