Show Less
Restricted access

The Decay of a Language

The Case of a German Dialect in the Italian Alps

Silvia Dal Negro

Topic of this volume is Pomattertitsch, a German dialect which is doomed to extinction. This Allemanic (Walser) dialect is spoken at Formazza, a tiny Alpine community in Italy, and after centuries of semi-secluded existence is now undergoing major transformations due to the rapidly declining number of its speakers and the limited range of its functions.
Within the framework of language decay and death this analysis focuses on phenomena of linguistic variation at a morphosyntactic level. This comprehensive study includes a large body of spoken data collected from informants of different age groups and with different levels of language fluency and thus displays a unique picture of an endangered language.
Contents: The perspective of language decay and death – Walser dialects – Language minorities in Italy – The German-speaking community of Formazza – Linguistic profile of traditional Pomattertitsch – Maintenance and decay of noun morphology – Attrition and change in the system of gender – Reanalysis of Verb-Subject sequences – Tun-periphrasis – Maintenance and decay of verb morphology – The construction and deconstruction of language – Patterns of language obsolescence.