On the Decrease of Language Norms in a Disintegrating Language

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This paper deals with the issue of norm awareness in decaying American Dutch, the language of the ethnic Dutch in the American Midwest. It is investigated to what extent inflectional ‘mistakes’ are recognized. This investigation was carried out by means of an acceptability test. These findings are then compared with data from free conversation. Although this paper focuses on the decrease of language norms in the first place, it also contributes to a better understanding of heritage languages in their final stage, i.e., when they are on the verge of extinction.


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