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Language contact, linguistic variability and the construction of local identities

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Abstract

This paper focuses on “old” bidialectal and “new” bilingual language contact settings in the Netherlands combining insights from theoretical linguistics and sociolinguistics. It highlights some surprising conditions for language variation, namely the observation that in the bidialectal contact situation when a dialect feature (inalienable possessive dative construction) may disappear from the local dialect(s) it may be picked up as a feature of a new regional standard. In the bilingual contact situation, for some bilinguals the overgeneralization of the common definite determiner indexes “streetwise” identity formation. In sum, contact situations in bidialectal communities may lead to different linguistic outcomes but have similar social meanings whereas in bilingual communities similar linguistic outcomes are only meaningful for some speakers and not for others.

References

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