LINGUIST List 30.884

Fri Feb 22 2019

Sum: Summary of Pluricentricity vs. Pluri-areality

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 20-Feb-2019
From: Stefan Dollinger <>
Subject: Summary of Pluricentricity vs. Pluri-areality
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Pursuant to my query posted in the summer of 2017 on the pluricentricity of language varieties (original post:, I can now follow up with an open-access summary of the problem as it relates to - but is not limited to - the Germanic languages:

The accompanying book is currently In press, as in a short version of the argument which is forthcoming later this year or in early 2020 in the Journal of Linguistic Geography. An abstract can be seen here:

As you can see from these texts, the term of ''pluri-areality'' (usually only use in German as ''pluriareal'') appears to be fully synonymous with the established low-level descriptive term ''geographical variation'', a term that allows no predictions and hypothesis testing. The point is made that ''pluri-areality'' can therefore not be used in lieu of the theoretical concept of pluricentricity, which allows all these tests. The question further arises what legitimacy ''pluri-areality'' may have over the term ''geographical variation''.

Thanks to all those who posted to the original query. I hope they will find the summary and assessment a useful spring board for their own work.

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
                            Historical Linguistics
                            History of Linguistics
                            Linguistic Theories
                            Philosophy of Language
Language Family(ies): Germanic

Page Updated: 22-Feb-2019