By Patrick Stevenson

This obtainable textbook deals scholars the chance to probe for themselves quite a lot of sociolinguistic matters in terms of the German language and its position in societies world wide. it truly is written for undergraduate scholars who've a valid useful wisdom of German yet who've very little wisdom of linguistics or sociolinguistics. It combines textual content with useful routines and dialogue inquiries to stimulate readers to imagine for themselves and to take on particular problems.In half One Patrick Stevenson invitations readers to enquire and examine matters in regards to the prestige and serve as of the German language relating to its audio system and to audio system of alternative languages with which it comes into touch. partially the focal point shifts to the types and services of person gains of the language. This comprises, for instance, determining positive aspects of neighborhood speech kinds, analysing similarities and ameliorations among written and spoken German, or the 'social that means' underlying various different types of tackle. half 3 explores the connection among the German language and the character of 'Germanness'. It concentrates on people's attitudes in the direction of the language, the ways that it truly is altering, and their perspectives on what it represents for them.

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On the face of it, the concept of a standard form seems to imply something absolute, so we may well ask how there can be more than < previous page page_11 next page > < previous page page_12 next page > Page 12 one ‘standard German’. On the other hand, we have seen that a historical analysis of the concept forces us to see it as a relative rather than an absolute notion; therefore on the synchronic level it may not necessarily be contradictory to talk of several co-existent (and overlapping) standard forms.

An example of this process is the formation of ‘stereotypes’, whereby a kind of identikit image of a ‘typical’ football fan or burglar or teacher or German is assembled from a collection of ‘characteristic’ traits, which might include personal habits, physical features, forms of dress, preferred food or drink, speech behaviour, and so on. This image may then serve as a template against which real individuals are matched or may even be substituted for them: in other words, you see what you want to see.

Previous page page_28 next page > < previous page page_29 next page > Page 29 that is to say, an important form of social categorisation in Switzerland is in terms of what we might call ethnolinguistic identity. There is a great deal of evidence that this form of identification is indeed widespread and the most profound differences are felt to be between the German-speakers and the rest. The following remarks of a prominent Romand (French-Swiss) illustrate this quite graphically: Man weiss doch, dass die Romands deutsche Wörter immer in einem pejorativen Sinn gebrauchen.

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