Special Issue "Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (7 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Marco Tamburelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, Bangor University, Bangor Gwynedd, LL57 2DG, UK.
Interests: bi-/multilingualism; language policy and maintenance; linguistic attitudes, diglossic/bilingual communities; measuring phonetic distance; measuring intelligibility between related languages; transfer effects in bilinguals; bilingual fist language acquisition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to develop a further understanding of the nature and role of language attitudes from a theoretical, empirical and methodological perspective. The volume will examine the structure and formation of language attitudes, their measurement, the role they play in multilingual communities and their effectiveness in indicating and/or predicting the vitality of a language. We particularly encourage contributions dealing with language attitudes towards regional, minority and contested languages (e.g., Wells, 2019), including but not limited to comparative attitudes, attitude taxonomy, attitude measurement, attitude change and/or development and the relationship between language attitudes and other linguistic or sociolinguistic variables. In doing so, this Special Issue aims to build on the seminal work of Fishman (1964, 1991, 2001) and Cooper and Fishman (1974) as well as address and further investigate issues that have been raised in more recent research (e.g., Garrett, 2010; Giles and Marlow, 2011; Kircher and Fox, 2019; O'Rourke, 2010; Price and Tamburelli, 2016; Price and Tamburelli, 2019; UNESCO, 2003).

Completion schedule:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 15th June 2020
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 30th June 2020
  • Full manuscript deadline: 7th December 2020

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarising their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editor ([email protected]) or to the Languages editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Dr. Marco Tamburelli
Guest Editor

References

  1. Cooper, R. L., & Fishman, J. A. (1974). The study of language attitudes. Linguistics, 12(136), 5-20.
  2. Fishman, J. A. (1964). Language maintenance and language shift as a field of inquiry. A definition of the field and suggestions for its further development. Linguistics, 2(9), 32-70.
  3. Fishman, J. A. (1991). Reversing language shift: theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  4. Fishman, J. A. (2001). Can threatened languages be saved? Reversing language shift, revisited: A 21st century perspective (Vol. 116). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  5. Garrett, P. (2010). Attitudes to language. Cambridge University Press.
  6. Giles, H., & Marlow, M. L. (2011). Theorizing language attitudes existing frameworks, an integrative model, and new directions1. Annals of the International Communication Association, 35(1), 161-197.
  7. Kircher, R., & Fox, S. (2019). Attitudes towards Multicultural London English: implications for attitude theory and language planning. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 40(10), 847-864.
  8. O'Rourke, B. (2010). Galician and Irish in the European Context: Attitudes Towards Weak and Strong Minority Languages: Basingstoke, GB: Palgrave Macmillan.
  9. Price, A. R., & Tamburelli, M. (2016). Minority language abandonment in Welsh-medium educated L2 male adolescents: classroom, not chatroom. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 29(2), 189-206.
  10. Price, A. R., & Tamburelli, M. Welsh‐language prestige in adolescents: attitudes in the heartlands. International Journal of Applied Linguistics.
  11. UNESCO. (2003). Language Vitality and Endangerment. Presented at the International Expert Meeting on UNESCO Programme Safeguarding of Endangered Languages, Paris: UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages. Retrieved from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000183699.
  12. Wells, N. (2011). The linguistic capital of contested languages: The centre-left and regional languages in Asturias and the Veneto, 1998–2008. Language Problems and Language Planning, 35(2), 117-138.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registeringand logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • language attitudes
  • covert attitudes
  • regional languages
  • minority languages
  • contested languages
  • language vitality
  • language maintenance
  • language policy
  • bilingualism
  • multilingualism

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Attitudes of South Tyrolean University Students towards German Varieties
Languages 2021, 6(3), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6030137 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
This paper examines language attitudes of South Tyroleans towards German varieties used in educational institutions by means of a questionnaire survey with 55 university students. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight into subjects’ attitudes towards their own and other [...] Read more.
This paper examines language attitudes of South Tyroleans towards German varieties used in educational institutions by means of a questionnaire survey with 55 university students. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight into subjects’ attitudes towards their own and other German (standard) varieties, with a focus on the sociolinguistic situation in South Tyrol (northern Italy). Previous studies have shown that the German-speaking community often have the notion that their own standard variety is deficient combined with a feeling of linguistic inferiority towards German speakers from Germany. Therefore, this article seeks to answer the following research questions: Which attitudes do South Tyrolean university students have towards the different German (standard) varieties? Do university teacher-training students get in touch with the concept of the pluricentric variation within the German standard variety during their education? Results reveal that despite a certain awareness of the issue of linguistic variation in the German language, the standard variety used in Germany still enjoys high prestige among our subjects compared to other German standard varieties. Moreover, results show that the students were hardly confronted with the subject of the German standard variety used in South Tyrol or with the variation of the German language during their high school years. However, this changes as soon as they attend university. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
Accepting a “New” Standard Variety: Comparing Explicit Attitudes in Luxembourg and Belgium
Languages 2021, 6(3), 134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6030134 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 525
Abstract
Language maintenance efforts aim to bolster attitudes towards endangered languages by providing them with a standard variety as a means to raise their status and prestige. However, the introduced variety can vary in its degrees of standardisation. This paper investigates whether varying degrees [...] Read more.
Language maintenance efforts aim to bolster attitudes towards endangered languages by providing them with a standard variety as a means to raise their status and prestige. However, the introduced variety can vary in its degrees of standardisation. This paper investigates whether varying degrees of standardisation surface in explicit attitudes towards standard varieties in endangered vernacular speech communities. Following sociolinguistic models of standardisation, we suggest that explicit attitudes towards the standard variety indicate its acceptance in vernacular speech communities, reflecting its overall degree of standardisation. We use the standardised Attitudes towards Language (AtoL) questionnaire to investigate explicit attitudes towards the respective standard varieties in two related vernacular speech communities—the Belgische Eifel in Belgium and the Éislek in Luxembourg. The vernacular of these speech communities, Moselle Franconian, is considered generally vulnerable (UNESCO), and the two speech communities have opted to introduce different standard varieties: Standard Luxembourgish in Luxembourg shows lower degrees of standardisation and is only partially implemented. In contrast, Standard German in the Belgian speech community is highly standardised and completely implemented. Results show that degrees of standardisation surface in speakers’ explicit attitudes. Our findings have important implications for the role of standardisation in language maintenance efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
Coolification and Language Vitality: The Case of Esperanto
Languages 2021, 6(2), 93; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6020093 - 21 May 2021
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Despite experiencing a relatively positive revival in the digital age, Esperanto and the assessment of its language vitality is often problematic and prone to gross errors; therefore, a theoretical reflection is required. Unlike other lesser-used languages, Esperanto is intergenerationally transmitted mainly outside the [...] Read more.
Despite experiencing a relatively positive revival in the digital age, Esperanto and the assessment of its language vitality is often problematic and prone to gross errors; therefore, a theoretical reflection is required. Unlike other lesser-used languages, Esperanto is intergenerationally transmitted mainly outside the family, and so Fishman’s GIDS and subsequent scales such as the EGIDS cannot be applied straightforwardly for language vitality diagnosis and estimation. In particular, it is the social movement of language activists who have guaranteed Esperanto’s vitality and development for more than a century. A key aspect is the digital domain, where, paradoxically, the relatively good positioning of Esperanto in terms of new users does not imply a parallel increase in the number of activists. This paper critically assesses the digital language vitality of Esperanto on the basis of its language ideology and other sociolinguistic data as a starting point for a discussion to overcome the limits of Blanke’s (2006) scale of language vitality of Esperanto and its rivals (in the sense of Garvía 2015). This assessment eventually leads to a more general reflection on the role of ‘coolification’, i.e., positive effects on language attitudes and development due to digital visibility, its limits and the issue of placing it in the context of language vitality in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
Article
Language, or Dialect, That Is the Question. How Attitudes Affect Language Statistics Using the Example of Low German
Languages 2021, 6(1), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010040 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
This paper explores how attitudes affect the seemingly objective process of counting speakers of varieties using the example of Low German, Germany’s sole regional language. The initial focus is on the basic taxonomy of classifying a variety as a language or a dialect. [...] Read more.
This paper explores how attitudes affect the seemingly objective process of counting speakers of varieties using the example of Low German, Germany’s sole regional language. The initial focus is on the basic taxonomy of classifying a variety as a language or a dialect. Three representative surveys then provide data for the analysis: the Germany Survey 2008, the Northern Germany Survey 2016, and the Germany Survey 2017. The results of these surveys indicate that there is no consensus concerning the evaluation of Low German’s status and that attitudes towards Low German are related to, for example, proficiency in the language. These attitudes are shown to matter when counting speakers of Low German and investigating the status it has been accorded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Study of Attitudes toward Spanish as a Heritage Language in Florida
Languages 2021, 6(1), 38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010038 - 28 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1227
Abstract
Spanish speakers constitute the largest heritage language community in the US. The state of Florida is unusual in that, on one hand, it has one of the highest foreign-born resident rates in the country, most of whom originate from Latin America—but on the [...] Read more.
Spanish speakers constitute the largest heritage language community in the US. The state of Florida is unusual in that, on one hand, it has one of the highest foreign-born resident rates in the country, most of whom originate from Latin America—but on the other hand, Florida has a comparatively low Spanish language vitality. In this exploratory study of attitudes toward Spanish as a heritage language in Florida, we analyzed two corpora (one English: 5,405,947 words, and one Spanish: 525,425 words) consisting of recent Twitter data. We examined frequencies, collocations, concordance lines, and larger text segments. The results indicate predominantly negative attitudes toward Spanish on the status dimension, but predominantly positive attitudes on the solidarity dimension. Despite the latter, transmission and use of Spanish were found to be affected by pressure to assimilate, and fear of negative societal repercussions. We also found Spanish to be used less frequently than English to tweet about attitudes; instead, Spanish was frequently used to attract Twitter users’ attention to specific links in the language. We discuss the implications of our findings (should they generalize) for the future of Spanish in Florida, and we provide directions for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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Article
A Long-Lasting CofP of New and Native Speakers—Practices, Identities of Belonging and Motives for Participation
Languages 2021, 6(1), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/languages6010030 - 15 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Within sociolinguistic research on small languages like Low German, differentiation into new and native speakers has become established. The relationship between the two different groups of speakers is sometimes conceptualized as an insurmountable “gap”. In addition to different acquisition paths and competencies, identity [...] Read more.
Within sociolinguistic research on small languages like Low German, differentiation into new and native speakers has become established. The relationship between the two different groups of speakers is sometimes conceptualized as an insurmountable “gap”. In addition to different acquisition paths and competencies, identity discourses of belonging, authority and authenticity, as well as typical practices, are all crucial elements of these differences. Despite these differences, the intergenerational language-centered analog community of practice (CofP) “Plattdüütschkring” consisting of approximately 10 new and native speakers of the regional language Low German has existed since 2005. This article is based on an explorative case-study analyzing the network “Plattdüütschkring” as an example of successful cooperation between new speakers and native speakers on the basis of typical attitudes and linguistic practices. In order to gain authentic, subjectively experienced insights into identities, normative conceptions and individual language experiences within and outside the network, meta-linguistic reflections of the members themselves were analyzed. These meta-linguistic reflections were collected through narrative interviews with the same and different members at the two survey dates 2010/11 and 2020. The findings show norms of monolingual language use, narrative identities of a normative hierarchy of acquisition scenarios and competences as aspects of belonging. Social and learning-oriented and thus multiple individually appropriate functions of the network can explain the motivation for long-term membership. These outcomes help to understand the role of language attitudes in CofP in the language development of small languages as well as abstract characteristics of successful language-centered networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Attitudes, Vitality and Development)
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