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Language change via satellite: The influence of German television broadcasting on Austrian German

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This article is concerned with media-induced language change in Austrian German (AG) which is caused by language contact with German German (GG) as presented in television programs broadcast via satellite. A detailed overview of the media situation and its impact on a number of linguistic features of AG is given. It is shown that the impact of this language contact is increasing and that it can be directly linked to the amount of TV-viewing time, especially of children. Examples of this are the emergence of the particle mal and other colloquial lexical items in informal AG, as well as the replacement of traditional items of core AG lexicon with their GG equivalents. Finally, factors which contribute to the ongoing process of language shift are considered: the relative powerlessness of a small language culture in permanent contact with a powerful one, the prestige of new media and their associated language usages which frequently symbolise modernity and worldliness, and lack of linguistic pride, such that the native variety is considered outmoded and provincial.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Graz, Austria

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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