Reconstructing the past? Low German and the creating of regional identity in public language display

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Abstract

This article deals with language contact between a dominant standard language -German - and a lesser-used variety - Low German - in a situation in which the minoritised language is threatened by language shift and language loss. It analyses the application of Low German in forms of public language display and the selfpresentation of the community in tourism brochures, focusing on bilingual linguistic practices on the one hand and on underlying discourses on the other. It reveals that top-down and bottom-up approaches to implementing Low German in public language display show a remarkable homogeneity, thus creating a regional 'brand'. The article asks whether a raised level of visibility will in itself guarantee better chances for linguistic maintenance and survival of the threatened language.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-54
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

    Keywords

  • language contact, language shift, minority languages, linguistic landscapes and linguascapes, Low German, tourism

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