Language profile and syntactic change in two multilingual communities

Ariana Bancu


This paper explores variables that can explain contact-induced linguistic variation and change in a situation where diachronic data is lacking and number of speakers is small. For example, in contexts involving language endangerment traditional sociolinguistic variables such as age, gender, and social class will not apply due to small number of participants. Furthermore, additional sociolinguistic variables such as degree of language use, language attitudes, etc. are needed to explaining contact-induced variation. The target language is Transylvanian Saxon (hereafter TrSax), an endangered language that coexists with German and Romanian in Romania and in émigré communities in Germany.  I collected sociolinguistic and questionnaire data from two groups of trilingual speakers of TrSax, German, and Romanian. Six participants are from Viscri, Romania and six participants are part of a community of Transylvanian Saxons from Viscri, who moved to Nuremberg, Germany approximately 30 years ago. I illustrate the methodology I used for identifying the variables that distinguish the two groups and I discuss how these variables can be applied to analyze contact-induced variation in TrSax on hand of preliminary production data.


language contact; sociolinguistics; multilingualism; language dominance; language attitudes; Transylvanian Saxon

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Copyright (c) 2018 Ariana Bancu

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