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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Regional Dialect Levelling and Language Standards: Changes in the Hønefoss dialect Add Dissertation
Author: Nanna Hilton Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of York, Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Completed in: 2010
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Rosalind Temple
Carmen Llamas
Sam Hellmuth

Abstract: This dissertation reports a sociolinguistic investigation of regional
dialect levelling and discusses the relationship between this particular
type of dialect change and standard language ideologies that speakers hold.

The study combines a quantitative variationist investigation of linguistic
variation and change in East Norwegian cities Hønefoss and Oslo (Norway's
capital city) with experimental and qualitative studies of attitudinal data
in Hønefoss. The aim of the study is to shed light on the role that
ideologies concerning a standard language (notions held about the
superiority of a linguistic variety through its relationship with
codification, education or the capital city) play for the loss of localised

Varieties of East Norwegian spoken in the small city Hønefoss and the
capital city Oslo are becoming increasingly alike. Oslo speech is an
influential factor in the loss in Hønefoss of local linguistic variants in
variables 3pl personal pronouns and . The force behind the regional
dialect levelling is not the Oslo dialect only, however. Overt and covert
attitudinal data show that the influence is twofold and that the codified
written variety of Norwegian, Bokmål, largely influences speakers' usage of
local variants for linguistic variables stress in loanwords and plural
definite article suffixes.

The investigation attests that linguistic variants that are associated with
the standardised language are becoming more widely used in the East Norway
region. Speech that can be directly linked to the codified variety Bokmål
holds overt as well as covert prestige to speakers in Hønefoss. Covert
positive attitudes towards speech from the capital city, Oslo, are also found.

This study indicates that studying speakers' language ideologies is
fruitful for understanding language change in progress. The investigation
also shows that the social and political context of language must be taken
into account in the study of loss of linguistic features. Moreover, the
social meaning of particular linguistic features can inform us about the
social mechanisms behind dialect change.