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Spatial Distribution of Regional Dialects: Interplay of Language, Community, and Action

  • Alfred LameliEmail author
Reference work entry

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the connections between linguistic and nonlinguistic acts performed by members of communities which are primarily defined in geographical terms. It will become apparent that surprisingly often people from the same community make similar decisions from a variety of linguistically and nonlinguistically relevant options for action. The discussion begins with some early reflections within the scientific discourse which reveal concepts such as “border” or “language area” to be strongly influenced by the mental representation of speakers. As will be demonstrated, there is a close link between these mental representations and identity- or culture-based behavior. This behavior affects both the linguistic and the nonlinguistic dimension. On the one hand, this is illustrated by the scientific discourse in the German tradition, and, on the other, by two more recent examples which empirically analyze the connection of language and nonlinguistic behavior. The first example is dedicated to the connections between speech communities and political behavior in the USA. In contrast, the second example focuses on the connections between speech communities and economically relevant behavior in Germany. In both cases, there are statistically significant effects which indicate a strong interplay of language, communities, and action.

Keywords

Dialect Language variation Cultural identity Politics Economics 

Notes

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of German LinguisticsUniversity of FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany

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