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Social factors in mixed language emergence: Solving the puzzle of Amish Shwitzer


Hasse, Anja; Seiler, Guido (2023). Social factors in mixed language emergence: Solving the puzzle of Amish Shwitzer. In: Ballarè, Silvia; Inglese, Guglielmo. Sociolinguistics and typological perspectives on language variation. Berlin: De Gruyter, 85-120.

Abstract

Mixed languages are stable languages stemming from at least two parental languages from which they inherit larger parts of their linguistic system, e.g. gram-matical structure from one parental language and lexicon from another parental language. Amish Shwitzer, spoken by a group of Old Order Amish in Adams County, Indiana (US), is such a mixed language: The lexicon is derived from Bernese Swiss German (the language spoken by the ancestors of this group of Amish) but the grammar from Pennsylvania Dutch (the language spoken by most other Old Order Amish). Mixed languages emerge under specific sociolinguistic circumstances, and they are markers of a distinct identity. In this article, we will contextualize Amish Shwitzer in the existing frameworks of mixed languages and their emergence. In particular, we will use known mechanisms of mixed language emergence in order to reconstruct how and why Amish Shwitzer emerged and became the way it is today. We will argue that Amish Shwitzer expresses a new (rather than an old) identity and a threefold separation, namely from the American majority society, from Non-Swiss Amish communities and from Non-Amish Swiss communities. The specific mixed structure of Amish Shwitzer emerged first as an L2 variety spoken by Non-Swiss Amish whose native language was Pennsylvania Dutch. This variety was nativized by their children and was adopted ultimately by the Adams County Swiss Amish com-munity as a whole.

Abstract

Mixed languages are stable languages stemming from at least two parental languages from which they inherit larger parts of their linguistic system, e.g. gram-matical structure from one parental language and lexicon from another parental language. Amish Shwitzer, spoken by a group of Old Order Amish in Adams County, Indiana (US), is such a mixed language: The lexicon is derived from Bernese Swiss German (the language spoken by the ancestors of this group of Amish) but the grammar from Pennsylvania Dutch (the language spoken by most other Old Order Amish). Mixed languages emerge under specific sociolinguistic circumstances, and they are markers of a distinct identity. In this article, we will contextualize Amish Shwitzer in the existing frameworks of mixed languages and their emergence. In particular, we will use known mechanisms of mixed language emergence in order to reconstruct how and why Amish Shwitzer emerged and became the way it is today. We will argue that Amish Shwitzer expresses a new (rather than an old) identity and a threefold separation, namely from the American majority society, from Non-Swiss Amish communities and from Non-Amish Swiss communities. The specific mixed structure of Amish Shwitzer emerged first as an L2 variety spoken by Non-Swiss Amish whose native language was Pennsylvania Dutch. This variety was nativized by their children and was adopted ultimately by the Adams County Swiss Amish com-munity as a whole.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of German Studies
06 Faculty of Arts > Zurich Center for Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:430 German & related languages
Language:German
Date:18 September 2023
Deposited On:10 Oct 2023 07:55
Last Modified:30 Mar 2024 04:45
Publisher:De Gruyter
Series Name:Trends in Linguistics : Studies and Monographs
Number:374
ISSN:1861-4302
ISBN:9783110781168
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110781168-004
Related URLs:https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110781168/html (Publisher)
https://uzb.swisscovery.slsp.ch/permalink/41SLSP_UZB/1d8t6qj/alma991171583190905501 (Library Catalogue)