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LINGUIST List 17.2750

Mon Sep 25 2006

Qs: Bicephalous diglossia?

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        1.    Kossi NOGLO, Bicephalous diglossia?

Message 1: Bicephalous diglossia?
Date: 25-Sep-2006
From: Kossi NOGLO <edzemyahoo.com>
Subject: Bicephalous diglossia?

Hello dear linguists

I am puzzled by a theoretical issue. I am currently working on a
sociolinguistic research on urban Ewe language as spoken in southern Togo
(West Africa). Urban Ewe is a koine and as such it is the offspring of
contact of rural Ewe dialects and rural Gen ( another Ewe dialect).

This urban koine is used as a lingua franca in the city and many parts of
the country. However, it failed to gain any official status or be promoted
as a standard variety. It is what Charles Ferguson called the Low variety
in a diglossia.

Urban Ewe is a mix of very close rural dialects(phonologicaly and
grammaticaly speaking). Those rural dialects have an official status since
they are written, used in church or for traditional events, and even in the
media. Now the problem is to find the High variety in this diglossia. Since
the urban variety comes from two rural varieties, I tend to consider that
we have two High varieties here. This gives us a bicephalous diglossia.

1) Have you ever heard of a similar case?

2) Since urban koines arose from the contact of different dialects can it
be possible that in urban areas diglossias are always bi (or multi)
cephalous? I mean with two or more High varieties?

Thanks for any hint...


Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
                            Historical Linguistics

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