Dialect Leveling and Local Identity in Slovenia
← 240 | 241 →Dialect Leveling and Local Identity in Slovenia
Grant H. Lundberg
Brigham Young University
Because of centuries of inclusion in multiethnic and multi-linguistic states, Slovenes have long felt the need to struggle to find and maintain a common identity. Language has played an important role in this process, especially because, for most of their history, Slovenes were not bound by a common dynasty, a unified state or even a single religious faith (Nećak 1997: 19). It is well known and widely accepted that language influences identity and that a national language is an important factor in the formation of the identity of a people (Anderson 1991: 6). This influence also goes the other way. Identity influences and changes language. According to accommodation theory speakers choose forms and pronunciation variants partly based on their perceptions of others and the way they want to be perceived by interlocutors (Giles et al. 1973: 179). In fact, one of the proposals of perceptual dialectology is that there is a connection between attitudes about dialects and the likelihood that those dialects will be maintained or lost. “It seems obvious that instances of language change… might be profoundly influenced by folk beliefs about language, particularly beliefs about the status of language varieties and the speakers of them” (Preston 1999: xxiv). It may be that “language and identity are ultimately inseparable” (Joseph 2004: 13). This two-way process by which language influences identity and identity influences language is taking place in the dialects of Slovene, particularly in...
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