A new role for Low German? Language insertion as bilingual practice in the process of language shift

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This article analyses language insertion as a bilingual communicative practice, applying a functional, speaker-focused approach to the study of sociolinguistics and language contact. The article is based on a study of contact phenomena in a formerly diglossic region in Northern Germany, where the previously spoken language – Low German – is in the process of being replaced by the dominant standard variety, German. It examines regional publications in order to establish the linguistic techniques by which Low German elements are incorporated into the Standard German texts and the communicative purposes that they serve. The paper concludes that in the process of language shift an emblematic repertoire from Low German is created which can be applied into the dominant contact language, German, for specific communicative purposes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-397
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • language contact, language shift, Low German, language mixing, language insertion, bilingual advertising

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