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Open Access “Siehs’ du, du wars (…) besser wie du hast gedacht: Du has’ Französisch gesprochen!”

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The present paper explores the relationship between language use and group identity by analyzing how a multiethnic group of former coal miners in the region of Limburg makes use of linguistic features belonging to Cité Duits. Initial findings point towards the fact that we are dealing with a variety of German with its syntactic structures deriving from Dutch and a few lexical loans from Italian and French. As pointed out in earlier studies, languages are neither automatically bounded entities nor pre-established systems linked to one specific culture, but rather processes that emerge in time and space as a continuously changing product of social interaction. Speakers draw on their linguistic resources in specific situations and develop new ways of speaking (cf. Heller 2007; Otsuji, Pennycook 2010). By scrutinizing syntactical patterns that are characteristic for the in-group speech of the informants, I will show that the flexible use of certain structures and prepositions does not occur randomly, but forms part of a linguistic practice that highlights the positive attitude of the speakers towards the group members (cf. Le Page, Tabouret-Keller 1985: 182ff.). Particular attention will be paid to extraposition and non-inversion of subject-verb order in main clauses (cf. Freywald et al. forthc.). Furthermore, the results found within the data suggest that there is evidence for a general easing of grammatical restrictions.

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Keywords: extraposition; group identity; in-group speech; language variation; linguistic practice; non-inversion of subject-verb order; prepositions; syntax

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: M.A.-student in European Linguistics at the Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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  • Taal en Tongval is een wetenschappelijk tijdschrift over taalvariatie in Nederland en Vlaanderen, waarin ook aandacht wordt geschonken aan naburige taalgebieden en aan het Nederlands verwante talen. Alle vormen van variatie kunnen worden besproken zoals geografische, sociale, etnische, stilistische en diachrone variatie. Verder mogen daarbij ook alle aspecten van de menselijke taal aan de orde komen. Het blad staat zowel open voor empirisch werk als voor studies die een verbinding leggen tussen taalvariatie en theoretische taalkunde.

    Taal en Tongval publiceert bijdragen in het Nederlands, Engels, en Duits. In bepaalde gevallen kunnen ook artikelen in andere talen in overweging genomen worden, zoals Fries, Afrikaans en Frans.

    Taal en Tongval. Language Variation in the Low Countries is a journal devoted to the scientific study of language variation in the Netherlands and Flanders, in neighbouring areas and in languages related to Dutch. All types of variation are covered, including but not restricted to geographical, social, ethnic, stylistic and diachronic variation. Articles may deal with all aspects of human language. The journal welcomes both empirical work as studies linking language variation to developments in theoretical linguistics.

    Taal en Tongval welcomes contributions in Dutch, English and German. In certain cases we also consider articles in other languages, including Frisian, Afrikaans, and French.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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