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LINGUIST List 17.130

Mon Jan 16 2006

Disc: Re: 17.100, Disc: Prestige & Language Maintenance

Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyerlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Ronald Cosper, Re: 17.100, Disc: Prestige & Language Maintenance

Message 1: Re: 17.100, Disc: Prestige & Language Maintenance
Date: 14-Jan-2006
From: Ronald Cosper <ronald.cospersmu.ca>
Subject: Re: 17.100, Disc: Prestige & Language Maintenance

But don't Anonby's observations support in a sense the idea of prestige and 
language maintenance, though. It is probably not the prestige of the
speakers, so much as it is the prestige of the languages themselves, in the
larger cultural sense, that affect language maintenance. For example, in
the American examples he mentions, it is probably the prestige of the
dominant language, relative to that of the minority language, that leads to
its being adopted by minority speakers. And it is the most educated
speakers who (correctly) perceive that the dominant language is of greater
prestige and use than is the minority language. Perhaps these observations
support the idea of language hierarchy, where people learn languages up the
hierarchy, and not down. It is those villagers most in touch with outside
culture, who are most aware of this hierarchy. In Africa this hierarchy
can include as many as 4 or more languages. For example, in Bauchi State,
Nigeria, I have noted that the hierarchy can consist of English
(international), Hausa, Jarawan Bantu, and Dot, with people learning second
languages above them, but not below. Actually, there can be as many 6
languages in this hierarchy, if one includes dialects (the Bauchi dialect
of Hausa, ''Bausanci'', and the Bankalawa dialect of Bantu ''Bankalanci'').

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics

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