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Title:Dialect levelling and language attitudes in a rural Basque town: Intergenerational change meets subjective factors
Author(s):Azler Garcia-Palomino
dialect leveling
language attitudes
low vowel assimilation
Geographic Coverage:Basque Country
Abstract:Sociolinguists assume that supralocal variants are rapidly gaining influence in the linguistic repertoires of post-industrial societies (Auer 1998; Kerswill 2002; Hernández-Campoy 2003; Pooley 2012). The outcome of this process, typically referred to as dialect levelling, is a gradual loss of regionally marked forms and increased homogenization in young speech due to contact and accommodation between mutually intelligible varieties (Trudgill 1986; Britain 2010). Relatively recently, as Unamuno and Aurrekoetxea (2013) suggest, dialect levelling has become widespread in Basque-speaking areas as well, arguably because of the greater geographical mobility across the Basque Country and the consolidation of Standard Basque in education and the media. This study investigates the patterns of variation in one phonological variable in a small, rural Basque town, with an emphasis on language attitudes as a predictor of linguistic behavior. Significant effects of age group and gender are observed, but when the solidarity index is included in the statistical model, it emerges as the only significant factor. Moreover, the data show that adult females behave most conservatively with respect to the local variant, whereas young females appear to be leading the change into supralocalization. Further support for a change in progress is provided by the fact that intergenerational stability in males seems to be only apparent, with high degrees of heterogeneity in young males. These trends, coupled with current and future scenarios of accommodation and outward orientation, reinforce a hypothesis of regional dialect levelling in Basque LVA despite the strong correlation between the incidence of local forms and positive attitudes towards the town and its vernacular.
Issue Date:2021
Publisher:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers
Citation Info:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 44: 28-60
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-21

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