Alsatian Acts of Identity: Language Use and Language by Vassberg

By Vassberg

A German dialect spoken in Alsace (France), has quickly misplaced strategy to French given that 1945. This publication investigates language selection, language attitudes and ethnic identification in Alsace this day. The Alsatian case research issues out the advanced interrelationship of linguistic and id swap with historic, social and mental methods.

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Extra resources for Alsatian Acts of Identity: Language Use and Language Attitudes in Alsace (Multilingual Matters)

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While the French language had lost ground in Alsace during the 1870-1918 period, the rest of France had moved closer to linguistic unity and, in the process, to the association of French patriotism with the use of French. 'One result was that of regarding Alsatians who spoke French as patriots while dismissing the rest, the great majority, as 'Boches or Bochophiles' derogatory names for Germanophiles. But while Alsatians wanted their children to learn French, they also opposed the exclusion of German or the dialect (Craig, 1984: 273).

The findings of the study shed new light on our understanding of the Alsatian situation. Moreover, they provide additional information Page 4 concerning the factors that shape language change in language contact situations in general, and in particular where a minority language is in contact with a prestige variety. Another question of interest here is the relationship between linguistic behavior and social identity. At a time when many linguistic minorities in the world including in the United States are asserting themselves and demanding linguistic equality, understanding the processes of language choice and language change is not only useful, but necessary for policy making and language planning purposes.

The bilingual situation in Alsace shares many features with other areas of Europe (and the rest of the world) where lesser-used languages are spoken, yet the Alsatian case is not generally well known. A possible reason is that unlike the Basques and the Catalans in Spain, or the Bretons and the Corsicans in France, language activists and language promotion groups in Alsace have used relatively calm, non-violent and non-spectacular tactics that have not attracted much attention, especially in the news media.

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