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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Discussion Details

Title: Prestige & Language Maintenance
Submitter: Nino Bourdjanadze
Description: I think socio-economic factors such as access to formal education are to be
taken into account too. The reason why the individuals with lowest social
status in a particular social community keep the indigenous language of
their group might be related to the fact that they are socio-economically
too far from the formal education in/of the dominant language. This lack of
access also reduces the chances of the ideology of the dominant linguistic
group being imposed on the dominated linguistic group.

In fact, in some minority language communities in Europe language
replacement has not occured at large (ie. diglossia existed but the
situation was more or less stable) until education was made compulsory for
all society, including individuals from the lowest social layer (who might
account for the majority of that community). Also, it seems that those who
most readily start using the dominant language usually belong to the
middle, not the lowest, classes.
Date Posted: 20-Jan-2006
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Anthropological Linguistics
LL Issue: 17.193
Posted: 20-Jan-2006

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