Volltext-Downloads (blau) und Frontdoor-Views (grau)

Less than a Lingua franca but more than just ‘any other language’: conceptualising German in the Baltic States as ‘additional language of society’

  • This paper discusses contemporary societal roles of German in the Baltic states (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania). Speaker and learner statistics and a summary of sociolinguistic research (Linguistic Landscapes, language learning motivation, language policies, international roles of languages) suggest that German has by far fewer speakers and functions than the national languages, English, and Russian, and it is not a dominant language in the contemporary Baltics anymore. However, German is ahead of ‘any other language’ in terms of users and societal roles as a frequent language in education, of economic relations, as a historical lingua franca, and a language of traditional and new minorities. Highly diverse groups of users and language policy actors form a ‘coalition of interested parties’ which creates niches which guarantee German a frequent use. In the light of the abundance of its functions, the paper suggests the concept ‘additional language of society’ for a variety such as German in the Baltics – since there seems to be no adequate alternative labelling which would do justice to all societal roles. The paper argues that this concept may also be used for languages in similar societal situations and, not least, be useful in language marketing and the promotion of multilingualism.

This document is embargoed until:


Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar


Author:Heiko F. MartenORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):International Journal of Multilingualism
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2023
Date of Publication (online):2023/05/03
Publishing Institution:Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS) [Zweitveröffentlichung]
Tag:Additional Language of Society; Baltic States; German; Language concept; international language; language marketing
GND Keyword:Baltische Sprachen; Deutsch; Lingua Franca; Mehrsprachigkeit; Soziolinguistik; Sprachpolitik
First Page:1
Last Page:19
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Bilingualismus / Mehrsprachigkeit
Program areas:Z1: Sprache im öffentlichen Raum
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt