1887
Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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Abstract

Abstract

A large percentage of the world’s languages – anywhere from 50 to 90% – are currently spoken in what we call shift ecologies, situations of unstable bi- or multilingualism where speakers, and in particular younger speakers, do not use their ancestral language but rather speak the majority language. The present paper addresses several interrelated questions with regard to the linguistic effects of bilingualism in such shift ecologies. These language ecologies are dynamic: language choices and preferences change, as do speakers’ proficiency levels. One result is multiple kinds of variation in these endangered language communities. Understanding change and shift requires a methodology for establishing a baseline; descriptive grammars rarely provide information about usage and multilingual language practices. An additional confounder is a range of linguistic variation: (dialectal); (language-internal change without contact or shift); (contact with or without shift); and (variation which develops as a result of differing levels of input and usage). Widespread, ongoing language shift today provides opportunities to examine the linguistic changes exhibited by shifting speakers, that is, to zero in on language change and loss in process, rather than as an end product.

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Embracing linguistic variation in shift ecologies

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What linguistic innovation tells us

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Expanding bilingualism research through fieldwork in language shift ecologies

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Cultural attitudes and linguistic processes in Karajá

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Quantifying the language dynamics of bilingual communities

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Variationist sociolinguistic methods with Indigenous language communities

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The Roots of Endangerment

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A complex solution to an unsolvable problem?

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How unique is the linguistic situation of endangered language speakers?

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Language shift ecologies in the Americas

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Challenges in doing research to support language revitalization aims

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Emergent bilingualism in language awakening ecologies

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Methodological challenges in working with Indigenous communities

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Insights from the perspective of language ecologies and new contact languages in Australia
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attrition; endangered languages; shift; speaker variation
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