On cafeterias and new dialects

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This chapter argues that we need to differentiate potential founding populations in high-contact scenarios and classify different types of transmitters. Based on evidence from South Atlantic English, the claim is that, during the formative years of new dialects, some members of the community are more crucial than others, simply because they are more likely to transmit features to young children given their social role in the community. The impact of so-called primary transmitters may help explain why some dialects are extraordinarily influential in contact scenarios, despite the fact that its speakers represent a minority. This calls for a revision of current theories of new-dialect formation and for a more socially-informed view of koinéization processes.


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