Alsatian Acts of Identity: Language Use and Language by Vassberg

By Vassberg

A German dialect spoken in Alsace (France), has swiftly misplaced strategy to French in view that 1945. This e-book investigates language selection, language attitudes and ethnic identification in Alsace at the present time. The Alsatian case learn issues out the complicated interrelationship of linguistic and id swap with historic, social and mental strategies.

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Extra resources for Alsatian Acts of Identity: Language Use and Language Attitudes in Alsace (Multilingual Matters)

Sample text

Frederick Page 25 William I of Prussia generally spoke French to his wife, and his son, Frederick II, wrote his books in French. Voltaire's remark while visiting the Prussian court is well known and revealing: 'Je me trouve ici en France. On ne parle que notre langue. L'allemand est pour les soldats et les chevaux' (Keller, 1978: 487). Even while encouraging the study and promotion of the German language, the philosopher Leibnitz wrote almost all his works in Latin or in French (Keller, 1978: 487).

The general public's growing interest for Alsatian particularism is reflected in well-stocked Alsatique shelves in urban bookstores, which offer not only the usual works on aspects of Alsatian culture, but also ever-increasing numbers of Alsatian grammars and Alsatian language textbooks. Hessini (1981: 95) mentions an 'explosion of literary activity' in Alsatian, which indicates a 'new trend'. Already in 1975, Marc Hug (1975: 113) noted that the Alsatian dialect was again fashionable in some upper-middle-class circles.

Another assumption underlying this work is that linguistic change is first and foremost a social phenomenon, that has its source in synchronic heterogeneity in the speech community. Le Page & Tabouret-Keller's (1985) hypothesis of 'acts of identity' provides a theoretical framework from which to assess the process of emergence and disintegration of identities and the resulting language shift or language maintenance. In particular, they view language behavior as a 'series of acts of identity in which people reveal both their personal identity and their search for social roles,' by creating linguistic patterns 'so as to resemble those of the group or groups with which, from time to time, they wish to be identified' (Le Page & Tabouret-Keller, 1985: 14 and 18).

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