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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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Academic Paper

Title: Phonological rule spreading across hostile lines: (TH)-fronting in Philadelphia
Author: Betsy Sneller
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article examines the transfer of (TH)-fronting, a phonological feature of African American English, into the speech of white speakers from South Philadelphia. While most cases of linguistic diffusion, particularly of African American English, are found in speakers with a positive affiliation with the source dialect (e.g., Bucholtz, 1999; Cutler, 1999; Fix, 2010), here the white adopters of (TH)-fronting exhibit overtly hostile attitudes toward black neighbors. I argue that (TH)-fronting has been adopted as an index of street or masculinity by the white speakers in this study. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the phonological constraints on borrowed (TH)-fronting have been restricted and simplified from the constraints in the source dialect. Finally, I discuss how hostile interactions may play a role in language change, allowing change in dialects not only to proceed in tandem across unexpected boundaries (e.g., Milroy & Milroy, 1985), but also to be directly diffused across hostile boundaries.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 32, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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