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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: Post-Vernacular Language Use in a Low German Linguistic Community
Author: Gertrud Reershemius
Institution: Aston University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: In a time of rapid shift and loss of smaller, regional and minority languages it becomes apparent that many of them continue to play a role as post-vernacular varieties. As Shandler (2006) points out for Yiddish in the United States, some languages serve the purpose of identity building within a community even after they have ceased to be used as a vernacular for daily communication. This occurs according to Shandler through a number of cultural practices, such as amateur theatre, music and folklore, translation, attempts to learn the language in evening classes, etc. This paper demonstrates that the paradigm developed by Shandler for Yiddish can be applied to other linguistic communities, by comparing the post-vernacular use of Yiddish with Low German in Northern Germany. It focused on the linguistic strategies that individuals or groups of speakers apply in order to participate in a post-vernacular language community.

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This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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