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ERIC Number: ED548538
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 281
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-1665-0
Urban Migration and Koineization in the Development of the Berlin Urban Vernacular
Ehresmann, Todd M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The development of the Berlin urban vernacular during the late Early Modern and Industrial Period has been described in the literature in two primary ways: The first describes it as the result of the wholesale adoption of an autochthonous Upper Saxon dialect by a small and mobile urban elite in Berlin, who in turn imparted this newly-acquired dialect to the remaining population (cf. Lasch 1928). Later scholars favor an approach of dialect mixing or shift, whereby Low German speakers began to eschew their dialects in favor of a more "prestigious" Hochdeutsch (cf. Teuchert 1929, Schirmunski 1964, Schmidt/Schildt 1986). These studies support a timeline whereby the Berlin urban variety is traced back to the onset of the Reformation, and rely heavily on "prestige" as the primary impetus for language change. However, as Milroy (1992) and others argue, "prestige", being highly variable and context dependent, cannot be fully justified as the core mechanism for language change. In contrast to these approaches, this study builds on a growing body of sociolinguistic work describing the development of New Town, colonial, and urban koines (cf. Kerswill & Williams 2005, Trudgill 2004, Goss & Howell 2006 and others), proposing that Berlinisch was the result of a koineization process set in motion by a dramatic increase in population following the Thirty Years War. Not unlike the new towns investigated by Kerswill & Williams, Berlin's population--which had been decimated during the war--was only around 10,000 before rapidly expanding into a booming industrial center. Between 1680 and 1800, Berlin saw a twentyfold increase in population fuelled primarily by migration from the surrounding regions, but increasingly during this period from areas farther afield. With support from recent historical and demographic work on Berlin, along with data from the Berlin/Colln citizenship rolls, I argue that the admittedly scant written record of Berlinisch must be reexamined, with a new emphasis placed on Berlin's period of demographic upheaval and growth. Within this lens, the features of Berlinisch reveal the hallmarks of other koineization processes including but not limited to the favoring of majority forms, leveling, and simplification of complex forms. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany (Berlin)