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Language, or dialect, that is the question. How attitudes affect language statistics using the example of Low German

  • This paper explores how attitudes affect the seemingly objective process of counting speakers of varieties using the example of Low German, Germany’s sole regional language. The initial focus is on the basic taxonomy of classifying a variety as a language or a dialect. Three representative surveys then provide data for the analysis: the Germany Survey 2008, the Northern Germany Survey 2016, and the Germany Survey 2017. The results of these surveys indicate that there is no consensus concerning the evaluation of Low German’s status and that attitudes towards Low German are related to, for example, proficiency in the language. These attitudes are shown to matter when counting speakers of Low German and investigating the status it has been accorded.

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Author:Astrid AdlerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Languages
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2021
Date of Publication (online):2021/03/09
Tag:Low German; census; dialect; language attitudes; language statistics; status
GND Keyword:Mundart; Niederdeutsch; Regionalsprache; Sprachkritik; Sprachstatistik
Issue:1: Article 40
Page Number:26
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
BDSL-Classification:Deutsche Mundarten
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Dialektologie / Sprachgeografie
Program areas:Z1: Sprache im öffentlichen Raum
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International