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By Vassberg

A German dialect spoken in Alsace (France), has speedily misplaced method to French when you consider that 1945. This publication investigates language selection, language attitudes and ethnic id in Alsace this day. The Alsatian case research issues out the complicated interrelationship of linguistic and identification switch with ancient, social and mental strategies.

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

Sample text

In the seventeenth century, French schools in Strasbourg attracted not only Alsatians, but also Germans wanting to learn that language. French loan words were incorporated into medieval German literature, and probably into the spoken language also, as Germans perceived French chivalry, manners and dress as superior to their own. French influence and prestige continued to increase throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Wells, 1985: 265-7). French was the language of diplomacy, and also the language of princes and the urban patriciate.

Nor does 'minority group' refer to sheer numbers. In Belgium, the Flemish who have been perceived as a minority actually form 60% of the population. Likewise, in Alsace, Alsatian speakers comprise the majority of the population. Again, the term primarily reflects the fact that the language of the minority group Page 6 has usually been neglected, disdained, or discouraged. Minority speakers are not necessarily economically disadvantaged, as is often the case among US minorities, for instance. My study is limited by various factors such as small geographical area considered, relatively small number of respondents, and inherent weaknesses of the questionnaire approach.

Furthermore, existing studies point to an erosion of the functional distribution of Alsatian and French, which seemed clearer in the past. French is slowly gaining in the traditional strongholds of the dialect, such as within the family. Since the late 1960s, some Alsatians have joined other minorities in Page 2 France (such as the Bretons, the Basques, the Provençaux, the Flemish, and the Catalans) in voicing concern over the survival of their dialects, and actively promoting dialect maintenance.

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