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Linguistic Construction of Ethnic Borders

Edited By Peter Rosenberg, Konstanze Jungbluth and Dagna Zinkhahn Rhobodes

This volume focuses on the linguistic constructs involved in ethnic borders. Ethnic borders have proven themselves to be surprisingly long-lived: in nearly all European countries and beyond, border demarcation, exclusion of foreigners, and minority conflicts are some of the most persistent challenges for nations and societies. Which linguistic factors play a role in the formation of these borders, especially those drawn along ethnic lines? Which linguistic constructs contribute to the negotiation, establishment and maintenance of ethnic groups and identities? Under which conditions can processes of linguistic convergence, hybrids, or transcultural identities be observed?
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Anything goes? The gains and losses of the constructivist view on ethnicity: Some considerations based on German „language islands“ studies.

Peter Rosenberg

(Frankfurt/Oder)

Anything goes? The gains and losses of the constructivist view on ethnicity: Some considerations based on German „language islands“ studies.

Abstract: Sprachinseln leben von der „Grenze“, von ihrer Abgrenzbarkeit. Wenn die Grenze schwindet, gehen sie in der Flut unter. Was macht die Konstruktion der „Grenze“ stabil, was labil?

Deutsche Sprachinseln in Russland und Brasilien zeigen gegenwärtig einen deutlichen Abbau der Sprachinselvarietäten und einen rapiden Sprachwechsel zur Mehrheitssprache. Dieser Abbau läuft allerdings keineswegs amorph, sondern geregelt ab und bewahrt Kernfunktionen, etwa in der Kasusmorphologie. Die sprachliche Entwicklung in den Sprachinseln ist weniger durch Konvergenzen aus den Kontaktsprachen und –varietäten geprägt, sondern folgt eher – unter starker Beschleunigung – dem auch im Binnendeutschen üblichen Sprachwandel.

Es fragt sich daher, was diese dramatische Beschleunigung auslöst? Soziolinguistisch erweist sich als Motor des Wandels eine Auflösung von „Normativität“, von Normwissen und Normloyalität. Zweitsprachler des Deutschen überwiegen gegenüber Muttersprachlern; Code-mixing gewinnt an Boden gegenüber Code-switching, Zuwanderung stärkt die Kontaktsprache. Die Sprachinselvarietäten dienen immer weniger einem ethnischen „boundary marking“ (Barth 1969). Der Konstruktion ethnischer Grenzen fehlen zunehmend die Ressourcen: Ethnische Grenzen diffundieren und die Sprachinseln geraten in Auflösung. „Untergehende“ Sprachinseln lassen nicht nur Sprachwandelprozesse wie im Labor erkennen, sondern vermitteln auch soziolinguistische und kulturanthropologische Erkenntnisse, worin die Konstruktion des ethnischen „boundary (un)marking“ besteht.

Schlagworte: Sprachinseln, Sprachwandel, Morphologie, Ethnizität, boundary marking, Konstruktivismus

Keywords: language islands, language change, morphology, ethnicity, boundary marking, constructivism

Boundaries – at least from the perspective of postcolonial studies – are always blurred boundaries: both sides always have something in common (for example, the border), and the more interesting subject is usually the construction of the border rather than the border itself. A border is typically seen as a bare construction. But what does it mean: a construction? How and to which end do we con ← 149 | 150 → struct boundaries, and what kind of resources are needed to successfully construct boundaries? This will be discussed on the basis of some findings in „language island“ (Sprachinsel) research.

The very existence of language islands is related to boundary marking. They depend on their distinctiveness. Language islands are more or less distinct linguistic communities within a limited area; they have tight networks and an awareness of their distinctiveness, which marks a certain difference from the surrounding linguistic community. Conversely, if the boundary vanishes, the island is swept away by the floods: their inhabitants are assimilated into the majority society, adopting the contact language.

Since we are concerned with the linguistic fate of language islands „in the flood“, we have to ask: What makes the construction of linguistic boundaries stable and what makes it unstable?

Let’s have a look at a case of obsolescence1 of language islands, a process which starts with some degree of boundary diffusion, and ends with language shift. At the moment, we observe a period of language change induced by intense language contact, but structured by language internal processes. That’s what is occurring in some language islands in Russia and Brazil today.

In the following section, an empirical observation of linguistic simplification and change will be presented. Afterwards, some theoretical explanations on boundary marking will be discussed.

1  The linguistic problem: Language islands in the flood

The goal of our research2 is to study language use in German-speaking communities with some degree of disintegration of the speech community, which leads to morphological simplification in the form of case reduction. Our credo is that this story of ← 150 | 151 → language decomposition – just as well as language composition – tells us something about the structure of language, since the process is not at all amorphous or chaotic.

We compare two language islands each in Brazil and Russia (High German and Low German varieties), with speakers living in close contact with the majority population. The persecutions of the past have resulted in diminishing numbers among the speech communities, and the liberalizations that followed have diminished their distinctiveness and led to a process of assimilation, especially among the younger generations.

1.1  Some findings about linguistic change in the language islands in Russia and Brazil

Linguistically, we observe – like in other countries3 – case reduction in regular morphology, but case maintenance in irregular morphology. Just a few examples will be given to illustrate case marking after dative input in a translation task, where speakers were asked to translate standard German input into the language island dialect.

Reduction of case morphology to -(e)n or -e (or ) is very frequent in noun inflection. As the following examples show especially dative is subject to reduction.

(1)  ick heff löcher in mine schoine strömp4 (‘Ich habe Löcher in meinen schönen Strümpfen’ – I’ve got holes in my nice stockings)

(2)  an maine noas hengt’n dropp (‘An meiner Nase hängt ein Tropfen’ – A drop hangs from my nose.)

(3)  dei hoor op minen kopp sin grau. (‘Die Haare auf meinem Kopf sind grau’ – The hairs on my head are grey.) ← 151 | 152 →

The use of den/–n as a default for all kinds of oblique case marking is common and well attested also for neuter:

(4)  mi braure hett den schååp gråås jejeft (‚Mein Bruder hat dem Schaf Gras gegeben‘ – My brother has given grass to the sheep.)

(5)  den letste jåår (‚das letzte Jahr‘ – the last year)

(6)  wi derfe in den hus rinnegåån (‚Wir dürfen in das Haus hineingehen‘ – We may go into the house)

What is shown in Fig. 1 is case distinction in regular morphology (noun inflection: nouns, determiners, adjectives, demonstrative and possessive pronouns):

Fig. 1:  Regular morphology (noun inflection): Realization of dative input. (Translation task, 125 speakers, n=6218) [D = dative realization, – = no case ending (for instance de), N = nominative, A = accusative, NA = common form for nominative and accusative (die), DA = common form for dative and accusative, + = additional form, 0 = no realization].

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It’s obvious that less than one third of the data is translated into dative output.

Fig. 2 and 3 compare case marking in adjectives on dative and accusative input. Both figures are very similar: dative and accusative are realized with the same endings: a predominant common case (NA). Case marking is vanishing in noun inflection of the language islands observed. ← 152 | 153 →

Fig. 2:  Adjective inflection: Realization of dative input. (Translation task, 125 speakers, n=699)

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Fig. 3:  Adjective inflection: Realization of accusative input. (Translation task, 125 speakers, n=766)

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The examples (1) – (6) given above are taken from Low German speakers, but the same structure is found in all recordings of all varieties in both countries with only small differences as fig. 4 reveals: ← 153 | 154 →

Fig. 4:  Adjective inflection by varieties: Realization of dative input (n=699) [HRX = Hunsrückisch, KAT = „Katholisch“, POM = Pomerano, PDT = Plautdietsch]

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While dative is only rarely produced in noun inflection, it is very frequent in personal pronoun inflection: A clear difference with about two thirds of the data reflecting dative output is presented in Fig. 5.5

Fig. 5:  Irregular morphology (personal pronoun inflection): Realization of dative input. (Translation task, 125 speakers, n=986) [D = dative realization, – = no case ending, N = nominative, A = accusative, NA = common form for nominative and accusative (sie), DA = common form for dative and accusative (euch), + = additional form, 0 = no realization]

img

← 154 | 155 →

However, speakers often change word class in their output when replacing personal pronouns (ihm, ihr ‘him, her’) with demonstrative pronouns (dem, der ‘this.DAT’), and then use the accusative (den, die ‘this.AKK’), which they frequently do when case-marking regular forms. This would not be noteworthy since change of word class is common in many varieties of German. But only fifty years ago, Jedig6 stated that for the Mennonite Plautdietsch in Russia, dative is the main (oblique) case with determiners. 50 years later, this has changed dramatically, with only one third using dative and the other two thirds replacing it with a common case or accusative.

1.2  Accelerated, but ordinary change

These changes emerge in all varieties observed, not only in those communities with intense contact to the majority language or to another German variety. That’s why convergence is not very likely to serve as an explanation of this kind of change. Case reduction occurs in communities with a morphologically „rich“ contact language (Russian), as well as with a „poor“ one (Brazilian Portuguese), in morphologically more „conservative“ varieties (Low German dialects), as well as in others (High German dialects). Of course, there are some differences – Low German dialects are morphologically more „stable“ – but the varieties share the same tendencies.

Hence, the case reduction presented above appears to be an accelerated – but ordinary – linguistic change all German varieties are subject to, not essentially a matter of contact-induced adoption or convergence. While in irregular inflection, the case system is rather stable, regular case morphology is radically simplified: The outcome is a reduction of case marking endings to -(e)n/-e7, which represents the German weak noun inflection system expanded even to the strong inflection paradigm. In most cases there is no longer any case marking.

Personal pronouns reveal more case distinction for different reasons8, the most important being their high frequency, their animate referents, their „full listing“ ← 155 | 156 → mental representation as monomorphematic words and words with irregular word formation9.

The reduction of grammatical distinctions in the language islands observed could be interpreted as a kind of degrammaticalization, which is structured by case semantics: dative is maintained with personal pronouns in its „core function“ as the case of the animated receiver10.

But what might be the sociolinguistic explanation of the acceleration of change?

1.3  The sociolinguistics of change

Change in the Brazilian language islands is more intense, but the Russian language islands catch up quickly. The process of assimilation began earlier in the Brazilian German communities, but it is more rapid in the Russian German communities.

The Brazilian society is multiethnic, and the German speaking minority is only one of a hundred ethnic communities. From the beginning, the German colonists have been „aliens“ by mission: For about 100 years, they kept their distance to the surrounding population in terms of geography, language, culture, economy, religion and social structure. Since about 1940, „Brazilianization“ has emerged, unifying the country (at least related to the „white“ Brazilians), in the last decades modernizing the society, and, hence, lowering the barriers of social contact. For a long time, the maintenance of the minority language and culture depended on the autonomous settlement. The German-speaking settlements, however, became subsequently integrated into the society.11 Today, Brazilian Germans are primarily Brazilians, speaking Brazilian Portuguese, married with Brazilians of other ethnic descent, studying somewhere in the country. Among the younger ones, the German language has become a heritage language. The disintegration of the language islands began two generations ago. Nowadays, ethnic diversity is a familiar trait of all people but it is not a vital resource of social distinction.

The former USSR was – by constitution as well as by societal awareness – based on ethnicity. Experience was matched by this kind of ethnic framing. ← 156 | 157 → Language served as a boundary marker since it represented a difference: the experience of communicative belonging (as long as „compact groups“ were demarcated12 by language and code alternation13 structures were established) as well as of social or cultural difference. This was even true in the deportation camps and guarded villages.

German settlement in the USSR has always been discontinuous. The manifold migrations (voluntarily or not) of the Russian Germans have not affected the ethnically based system of belonging. However, the construction of „central villages“ with different German varieties spoken enhanced the expansion of Russian among the younger generation: A former study14 in a Siberian village revealed that for intergroup communication, Russian has displaced German, but not for intragroup conversation. In intragroup communication, Mennonites, for instance, used exclusively German to a degree of about 60 %, in intergroup communication of only 20 %. In a network study we found school children divided into network clusters of Mennonite Low German-speaking pupils, a Volga German variety speaking pupils („Lutherisch“), and an Upper German variety speaking pupils („Katholisch“). Interactions across these clusters were made in Russian, since the children had no Standard German at their disposal as a means of communication. ← 157 | 158 →

Since the breakdown of the Soviet Union, a disruptive language shift emerged among Russian Germans because of the mass emigration of resettlers („Aussiedler“) to Germany in the 1990s. Today, the majority language is dramatically expanding in public and private domains. Younger generations are quickly shifting to Russian, code-mixing is more frequent than code-switching, and the proportion of second-language learners outweighs native speakers. Intermarriage is steadily increasing, and getting vocational education outside of the village is common. Additionally, the ethnic composition of the villages is becoming more diffuse because of the replacement of the emigrated resettlers by non-Germans or non-regionals (immigrating Germans from the Central Asian republics of the former USSR). Today, only about 15 % of the villagers are locally born and network clusters are dissolving. Being German is not a primary distinction anymore.

Some traits of an accelerated disintegration of the Russian language islands can be detected from our sociolinguistic background information as far as language is concerned:

If asked whether the speakers use the contact language (Russian or Brazilian Portuguese) with their parents, Russian Germans predominantly answer not at all (more than Brazilian Germans). But with their children, Russian Germans use Russian only or frequently by a clear majority.

Fig. 6:  Family domain of language usage: Speaking contact language with parents in Brazil and Russia (n = 60)15

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← 158 | 159 →

Fig. 7:  Family domain of language usage: Speaking contact language with oldest child in Brazil and Russia (n = 54)

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At work, Russian Germans use Russian most frequently, which was not the case in former times, when almost 100 % of the villagers were of German descent.

Fig. 8:  Public domain of language usage: Speaking contact language at work in Brazil and Russia (n = 61)

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What is striking in our findings is that the acceleration in language change in the Russian-German language islands is not simply a consequence of language contact and imposition. What we find is a loss of something different: the gradual loss of knowing and caring about what is linguistically „ours“ and what is „theirs“. This is connected to a lack of intergenerational transmission of the German language, ← 159 | 160 → an increasing proportion of non-native speakers, a common practice of code-mixing (frequently without any awareness of using elements of two languages). The determining factor which might have opened the gate for change in these communities could be called a loss of „normativity“, i.e. of norm awareness and norm loyalty. And this brings about the problem of boundary marking and the (linguistic) resources to construct boundaries.

2  The socio-cultural problem: the diffusion of boundaries

Usually, Fredrik Barth, the „father“ of ethnological constructivism, ought to be invoked at this point in the discussion: „The critical focus of investigation from this point of view becomes the ethnic boundary that defines the group, not the cultural stuff that it encloses.“16

Ethnic boundaries are not „given“ by the essence of origin, language or culture, but constructed by choice and evaluation of social relations. Brubaker, too, warns against the tradition of „groupism“, which takes (ethnic) groups for „things in the world“ instead of a shared and imagined „groupness“. They are „what we want to explain, not what we want to explain things with“ (Brubaker 2002, p. 165) Again, the task of constructing ethnic groups – like language islands – is under discussion, not the task of ethnicity as a category based on some commonalities.17

How can ethnic boundaries be constructed?

The notion of construction has become widely accepted in the social sciences. From the point of view of language island research, however, we still have to answer some questions: What are the resources of ethnic boundary marking? Are they chosen arbitrarily? Do boundary markers constructed by ascription result from mere imagination? Are ethnic constructions basically grounded in stereotypes? Are feelings of ethnic belonging expressions of a „false consciousness“, indoctrinated by ethnic entrepreneurs? What is essentialism? And may the most important question be: What is the impact of experience? ← 160 | 161 →

We rely on at least some approaches to these tasks, since the language islands mentioned above are subject to a landslide-like diffundation of ethnic boundaries.

Barth himself, has admitted some oversimplifications when reviewing his approach in 1969 at a 25-year anniversary conference in 1993: The main objections have been the following:

  The claim, it wouldn’t be the „cultural stuff“ which defines the ethnic group, but the boundary was „overstated“, and thus „people’s choice of diacritica appeared arbitrary“18.

  These diacritica of boundary marking are not constructed by a „mere act of imagining“, but rather have „empirical properties“19: they are based on „experience“, and reflect „salient, major cultural discontinuities“20.

  In this sense, „ethnicity is the social organization of culture difference“21.

Now, what is construction?

Instead of disregarding the role of experience22 and culture, I would suggest taking construction as a threefold process of selection of experiential features (making them „focused“ in terms of Le Page/Tabouret-Keller23), their hierarchization (making them relevant) and – as far as attitudes are involved – their evaluation (making them highly valued)24. ← 161 | 162 →

Since experience is often interpreted within ethnic dichotomies, they are frequently given the structure of stereotypes. We have to ask, then, if ethnicity is only conceivable in the framework of stereotypes, and therefore inadequate.

This is widely held when linguistic terms are assumed to be means of „othering“: generating the subject of categorization and therefore „excluding“ the „othered“. Instead, the construction of ethnicity rather seems to be prototypical.

A differentiation between category, stereotype and prototype would define a category to be a selection of features that hold for all members of the set, a stereotype, a selection of features that are over-generalized to all members of the set, and a prototype – a selection of features that applies to the most valid or central exemplar of the set.25

Construction seems to be organized prototypically: The most valid member is chosen by salience, and that’s where experience comes in. Some features are more applicable than others to serve as diacritica of social categories. Language is one of the more salient ones, and quite often it is – in an implicational way – the „focal center of our acts of identity“26.

However, in the language islands presented above, linguistic distinctions lose their boundary-marking function. Thus, we have to ask: under which circumstances does language serve as an ethnic boundary marker, under which does it lose this ability? And what could explain the acceleration of language change in the Russian-German language islands?

3  Ethnic boundary (un)marking, disintegration of the linguistic community and language change

The answer is a threefold: language is an ethnic boundary marker if it serves a communicative need (in some language domains), if it displays a certain distinctiveness, and if it is considered a legitimate distinction within an ethnic frame, i.e. if social experience is reasonably focused as an ethnic structure with prototypical actors of relevant „ethnic“ characteristics.

As is shown in section 1.3, in the Russian-German language islands, the German varieties do not support ethnic boundary marking in a distinctive way. Since the inhabitants of the villages have largely been replaced by non-locals, Russian has become the dominant language. The former social structure has fundamentally changed: Until the mass migration of the 1990s, Mennonites, Catholics and ← 162 | 163 → Protestants largely determined the village structure, each using German varieties in intragroup communication, but Russian in intergroup communication. Today, there is nothing other than „intergroup“ communication because of the influx of Germans from the Middle Asian countries. Russian is used in all linguistic domains (except speaking with grand parents and elder people). Therefore, there is no need to communicate in German. Language – the focal „act of identity“ in former times – has become a means of diffusion: Linguistic behavior of even middle-aged speakers is Russian-based or Russian-German code-mixing. Ethnic boundaries are going to vanish since the experience of difference is less prominent, since language loses the ability to focus this experience, and since differences no longer represent an ethnic „loading“.

Normativity decreases and borders become diffuse – not when oppression is most severe, but when language and cultural stuff lose their discreteness. Then, the disintegration of the linguistic community – and sometimes accelerated linguistic change – is the consequence. Losing boundaries is akin to losing norm awareness, norm institutions and norm loyalty, which opens the door to obsolescence and simplification. Mattheier27 drew attention to the conditions of the fading of norms: (a) the degree of target norm awareness, (b) the degree of norm codification, (c) the degree of norm tolerance, (d) the perceived difference between in-group and outgroup norm.

This is what we observe in these language islands losing their distinctiveness from generation to generation: The norm awareness is diffusing among younger speakers (a), it is not codified like all dialects, not even in relation to a German diasystem (b). Most importantly, second language learners are the majority of German speakers, without any corrections from fully competent speakers (c), and constant code-mixing blurs linguistic differences (d). Thus, fading linguistic norms may lead to the loss of ethnic boundaries.

Is this process inevitable? Or is Barth28 right after all with his remark that vanishing cultural difference „does not correlate in any simple way with […] a breakdown in boundary-maintaining processes?“

He is right, of course: It is no simple path, but requires a new framework. Esser argues for two preconditions for this new framework: a change in utility and ← 163 | 164 → a change in attitudes29. An ethnic frame serves to profit from ethnic capital – as a „specific“ capital only useful for the ones that „possess“ ethnic legitimacy. Attitudes have to serve as a reasonable explanation of experience. To acquire a certain degree of „groupness“, you have to bring about some distinctiveness. Utility and distinctiveness of language may support an ethnic framing. In Russia, the language island varieties lose both their utility and their distinctiveness. Language change is accelerated by a rapid decay of linguistic normativity and a de-ethnicizing of the social setting.

In modern societies, the great unifiers – state, market and democracy – loosen ethnic boundaries, which is now also the fate of our language islands in „inundation“.

The island metaphor focuses the linguistic, and sometimes social, cultural, religious, difference from the outside. However, it hides the fact that the inhabitants of the island do not die by losing their linguistic heritage, but live on happily and successfully speaking the language of the majority. And they have their reasons for doing so.

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1  Cf. Dorian, Nancy: „Introduction“. In: Dorian, Nancy (ed.): Investigating obsolescence. Studies in language contraction and death. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge et al. 1989, pp. 1–10.

2  The research was done among language islands in the area of Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil, with the East Low German Pomeranian and the West Central German Hunsrück varieties, and in the Altai region in West Siberia, Russia, with the West Upper German Katholisch and the East Low German Plautdietsch varieties. 125 speakers of three age-groups (younger than 40 years, 40–59, older than 60 years) have been recorded, 61 in Russia (27 speakers of Plautdietsch, 34 of „Katholisch“) and 64 in Brazil (39 speakers of Pomerano, 25 of Hunsrückisch). Since the data has been collected one half each in the 1990ies and in the 2000s (until 2011) it was possible to include 23 recordings of the same speakers after 10–13 years.

3  For example the United States: cf. the contributions of Salmons, Keel, Huffines in Berend, Nina / Mattheier, Klaus J. (eds.): Sprachinselforschung. Eine Gedenkschrift für Hugo Jedig. Peter Lang: Frankfurt a. M. 1994; or more recently: Boas, Hans C.: „Case Loss in Texas German: The Influence of Semantic and Pragmatic Factors“. In: Barðdal, Jóhanna / Chelliah, Shobhana Lakshmi (eds.): The Role of Semantics and Pragmatics in the Development of Case. Benjamins: Amsterdam, Philadelphia 2009, pp. 347–373.

4  Transcription in accordance to Schröder, Ingrid / Ruge, Jürgen / Bieberstedt, Andreas: Forschungsprojekt „Hamburgisch – Sprachkontakt und Sprachvariation im städtischen Raum“. Hamburger Transkriptionskonventionen. Hamburg 2011: Universität Hamburg, retrieved 22.7.2015, from https://www.slm.uni-hamburg.de/niederdeutsch/forschung/projekte/hamburgisch-sprachkontakt/hamburger-transkriptionskonventionen.pdf, on a HIAT base, cf. Ehlich, Konrad / Rehbein, Jochen: „Halbinterpretative Arbeitstranskriptionen (HIAT)“. In: Linguistische Berichte 45, 1976, pp. 21–41. Examples given here are recorded from Pomerano speakers in Brazil.

5  The high proportion of DA (oblique case marking) is represented mostly by the Low German personal pronouns mi or di for standard German ‘mir/mich’ or ‘dir/dich’ (‘me’).

6  Jedig, Hugo H.: Laut- und Formenbestand der niederdeutschen Mundart des Altai-Gebietes. (= Sitzungsberichte der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig. Philologisch-historische Klasse. 112/5). Akademie-Verlag: Berlin 1966, p. 52.

7  -n as default when marking oblique case, -e for common case.

8  Cf. Salmons, Joseph: „Naturalness and Morphological Change in Texas German“.In: Berend, Nina, Mattheier, Klaus J. (eds.): Sprachinselforschung. Eine Gedenkschrift für Hugo Jedig. Peter Lang: Frankfurt a. M. 1994, pp. 59–72, p. 64; Rosenberg, Peter: „Dialect convergence in German speech islands“. In: Auer, Peter / Hinskens, Frans / Kerswill, Paul E. (eds.): Dialect Change. Convergence and Divergence in European Languages. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge et al. 2006, pp. 221–235.

9  Cf. Cholewa, Jürgen: „Störungen der lexikalisch-morphologischen Wortverarbeitung bei Aphasie: Ein Literaturüberblick“. Neurolinguistik 7 (2), 1993, pp. 105–126.

10  Cf. Jakobson, Roman: „Beitrag zur allgemeinen Kasuslehre. Gesamtbedeutungen der russischen Kasus“. In: Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 6: Études Dédiées au Quatrième Congrès de Linguistes, Prague 1936. Jednota Československých Matematiku a Fysiku: Praha 1936; Harassowitz: Leipzig, pp. 240–288.

11  The colonies in the Pelotas surrounding, for instance, have been connected to the city of Pelotas by a „fasche“, an asphalt road, in the 1970s.

12  As Andreas Dulson studied in extremely heterogeneous German villages on the river Volga, linguistic change depends on the „compactness“ of linguistic communities: As long as „compact groups“ are felt to face each other, linguistic varieties represent these entities and convergence or divergence take place. If boundaries become diffuse in heterogeneous contact settings with intersecting boundaries, change will accelerate feature by feature, and the effect of normative behavior decreases. Cf. Dulson, Andreas: „Problema skreschtschenija dialektow po materialam jasyka nemzew Powolshja“. In: Iswestija Akademii nauk Sojusa SSR, Otdelenie literatury i jasyka 3, 1941, pp. 82–96, p. 93.

13  Huffines showed this for Non-Sectarians among Pennsylvania-Germans: Non-Sectarians with a habitual code-switching behavior had less English interference, while Sectarians communicating only in German had far more interference. Cf. Huffines, Marion L.: „Case usage among the Pennsylvania German sectarians and nonsectarians“. In: Dorian, Nancy (ed.): Investigating obsolescence. Studies in language contraction and death. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge et al. 1989, pp. 211–226, pp. 222 f.

14  Cf. Rosenberg, Peter: „Sprachgebrauchsstrukturen und Heterogenität der Kommunikationsgemeinschaft bei den Deutschen in der GUS – eine empirische Studie“. In: König, Peter-Paul / Wiegers, Helmut (eds.): Satz – Text – Diskurs. Akten des 27. Linguistischen Kolloquiums, Münster 1992. Bd. 2. Niemeyer: Tübingen 1994, pp. 287–298, p. 294. The study covered 749 queries, including the whole school youth and every fifth inhabitant of the village of Podsosnowo, now Rayon Halbstadt, Altai region.

15  The 60 respondents are only the speakers interviewed in the 2000s.

16  Barth, Fredrik: Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The social organization of culture difference. Universitets Forlaget: Bergen, Oslo 1969; Allen and Unwin: London, p. 16.

17  However, this important differentiation between ethnic group and category is given up at the end, when Brubaker suggests: „In other words, by raising questions about the unit of analysis – the ethnic group – we may end up questioning the domain of analysis: ethnicity itself.“ (Brubaker, Rogers: „Ethnicity without groups“. In: Archives Européennes de Sociologie XLIII.2, 2002, pp. 163–189, p. 186)

18  Barth 1994, p. 12.

19  Barth 1994, p. 13.

20  Barth 1994, p. 14.

21  Barth 1994, p. 13

22  Emphasizing experience is not essentialism, but requires a link between ascription and experiential rooting of social categories. „All the evidence indicates that there was always in the Soviet Union [sic!] a level of individual discrimination that ensured a wealth of personal experience of ethnic identity as a salient fact of life.“ (Barth 1994, p. 27).

23  Cf. Le Page, Robert B. / Tabouret-Keller, Andrée: Acts of Identity. Creole-based approaches to language and ethnicity. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge et al. 1985.

24  It may well be, that (social, cultural …) evaluation serves as a guideline to select the diacritica of boundary marking. This objection reflects a debate on attitude structure: Rosenberg and Hovland argue for a threefold structure of attitudes including cognitive, evaluative or affective, and behavioral components of attitudes, while others see evaluation as the core of this structure which affects even the cognitive „beliefs“ related to the subject, cf. Rosenberg, Morris J. / Hovland, Carl I.: „Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Components of Attitudes“. In: Rosenberg, Morris J. / Hovland, Carl I. (eds.): Attitude Organization and Change. Yale University Press: New Haven 1960, pp. 1–14.; Tesser, Abraham / Shaffer David R.: „Attitudes and attitude change“. In: Annual Review of Psychology 41, 1990, pp. 479–523, p. 481.

25  Hybridity does not affect this ethnic framing per se, since hybrid identities are context-specific variations which are related to prototypes.

26  Le Page/Tabouret-Keller 1985, p. 248.

27  Mattheier, Klaus J.: „Allgemeine Aspekte einer Theorie des Sprachwandels“. In: Sprachgeschichte. Ein Handbuch zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und ihrer Erforschung. 2., vollst. neu bearb. u. erw. Aufl. Hrsg. v. Werner Besch u. a. Erster Teilband. (= Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft. 2.1). de Gruyter: Berlin, New York 1998, pp. 824–836, p. 834.

28  Barth 1969, pp. 33 f.

29  Esser, Hartmut: „Die Definition der Situation“. In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 48, 1996, pp. 1–34.