Post-vernacular language use in a Low German linguistic community

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In a time of rapid shift and loss of smaller, regional and minority languages it becomes apparent that many of them continue to play a role as post-vernacular varieties. As Shandler (2006) points out for Yiddish in the United States, some languages serve the purpose of identity-building within a community even after they have ceased to be used as a vernacular for daily communication. This occurs according to Shandler through a number of cultural practices, such as amateur theatre, music and folklore, translation, attempts to learn the language in evening classes, etc. This paper will demonstrate that the paradigm developed by Shandler for Yiddish can be applied to other linguistic communities, by comparing the post-vernacular use of Yiddish with Low German in Northern Germany. It will focus on the linguistic strategies that individuals or groups of speakers apply in order to participate in a post-vernacular language community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-147
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Germanic Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright of Cambridge University Press. The paper has been accepted for publication and appear in a revised form, subsequent to peer review and/or editorial input by Cambridge University Press, in Journal of Germanic Linguistics published by Cambridge University Press.


  • regional minority languages
  • post-vernacular practices
  • Yiddish
  • Low German
  • identity-building
  • Northern Germany


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