2. Diglossia and monosyllabization in Eastern Cham: A sociolinguistic study
In Eastern Cham, the modern reflexes of Classical Cham disyllables exhibit variation between sesquisyllabic and monosyllabic word shapes, which suggests that the language is becoming increasingly monosyllabic. This apparent change in progress has been attributed to contact with monosyllabic Vietnamese, but a variationist study of formal colloquial speech based on interviews conducted with 42 native speakers sheds doubt on this claim. I propose that the variation in word shapes is actually due to the quasi-diglossia found in Eastern Cham communities. It seems that the variation in word shapes can be explained by the subjects’ attitudes towards the two varieties of their own language and that these attitudes are in turn shaped by the relative prestige of Cham and Vietnamese languages and cultures.