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German in Samoa: Historical traces of a colonial variety

  • During the brief era of German colonialism in the Pacific (1884-1914), German was in contact with a large number of languages, autochthonous as well as colonial ones. This setting led to language contact in which German influenced and was influenced by various languages. In 1900, Western Samoa came under German colonial rule. The German language held a certain prestige there which is mirrored by the numbers of voluntary Samoan learners of German. On the other hand, the preferred use of English, rather than German, by native speakers of German was frequently noted. This paper examines linguistic and metalinguistic data that suggest the historical existence of (the precursor of) a colonial variety of German as spoken in Samoa. This variety seems to have been marked mainly by lexical borrowing from English and Samoan and was, because of these borrowings, not fully comprehensible to Germans who had never encountered the variety or the colonial setting in Samoa. It is discussed whether this variety can be considered a separate variety of German on linguistic grounds.

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Author:Doris Stolberg
Parent Title (English):Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics PSiCL
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2013
Date of Publication (online):2015/01/13
Tag:Language contact; Samoan German; colonial linguistics; lexical borrowing
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Deutschland; Geschichte <1884-1914>; Kolonialismus; Lehnwort; Sprachkontakt; Westsamoa
First Page:321
Last Page:353
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Dialektologie / Sprachgeografie
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt