Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge

Panel 4: Urban Dialectology in Four Slavic Countries


Organizer: Dunja Jutronić (University of Maribor)

There is a dearth of studies on urban vernaculars in the Slavic world, where the variationist paradigm has not fully taken root. The proposed workshop aims to show (1) some of the work that has been carried out in this area and (2) that although sociolinguistic material from Slavic societies is largely unknown within the wider sociolinguistic community it is of direct relevance and importance to the general literature on accommodation, diglossia, the formation of new standard varieties and the notion of salience.

Two contributions come from Serbia (Milivoj Alanović and Žarko Bošnjaković). Both papers describe the language situation in Novi Sad: one investigates prosodic characteristics, the other paper is concerned with morphological and morphosyntactic features. They both show in which way vernacular innovations in the Novi Sad region arise from contact between the dialectal norm and the standard language.

The Bulgarian linguists Angel G. Angelov and Eugenia Dimitrova report on language variation in a small town in North-West Bulgaria where the inhabitants live in a diglossic situation and switch between the standard and the local dialect. They investigate morpho-phonetic and lexical markers and they take social, pragmatic and stylistic factors into consideration. The question posed in this paper is whether or not dialect mixing in this society gives rise to a new, non-standard code.

James Wilson’s paper reports on the outcomes of dialect contact in the Czech Republic. He studied the speech of 37 Moravian students living in Prague (Bohemia) and tried to identify which Common Czech (CC) features they assimilated the most and why. Wilson examines the role of salience in the acquisition of CC variants. Rather than viewing accommodation on a variable-specific level according to which some forms of the host variety should be acquired more than others due to their salience, it is suggested instead that migrants may assimilate any variant of the host variety, even the less salient ones, and that “variable-specific” factors are overridden by “speaker-specific” factors.

Two papers are devoted to language variation in Croatia. Kapović investigates the outcomes of contact between users of the standard Croatian accentual system and speakers of numerous different, more and less complex, dialects. He investigates a group of speakers in a formal setting – during live TV shows – and indentifies to what extent their accentuation changes as they attempt to converge to the standard norm. He also looks to find a link between accent change and variables like age, gender and education. Dunja Jutronić focuses on the changing Čakavian dialect in the Split vernacular. She concentrates on variation in the use of syntactic features and attempts to explain this variation according to the notion of salience. According to this notion, features that speakers consider ‘mistakes’ or socially inappropriate are the first to disappear from a dialect. The results, however, show that this principle is true in some cases but not in others.