We are pleased to host a presentation by Dr. Michał Głuszkowski, visiting scholar from Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu (Nicolaus Copernicus University) who will presenting research entitled “Sociolinguistic processes in language islands". The abstract for Dr. Głuszkowski 's presentation is provided below.
This lecture will take place on Friday September 16, at 3:00 PM in the Miller Learning Center, room 348.
Abstract: The problems of the language island situation have been known in the humanities for over 160 years. However, in spite of the changing world, this question remains relevant. The notion of a language island is much older than contemporary research on this problem. According to Klaus J. Mattheier, it was used for the first time in 1847 in the German language (Sprachinsel) to describe a Slavic community near Königsberg (Kaliningrad), surrounded by German speakers (Rosenberg 2005: 221). Geographical, social, cultural and political factors all affect the language situation of an island community and set the direction of its development. The influence of linguistically different surroundings involves not only to the lexicon of a language island but also its phonetics, morphology, syntax, and pragmatics. This talk focuses on two communities that form a special type of language island, Russian Old Believers in Poland and Polish peasants in Siberia. These are dialect islands, which use not a standardized variety, but one of its dialects or an interdialect. Members of the minority groups here usually do not know the written standard variety of their language (or the written variety is only vestigial), so the island dialect differs from the norm existing in the country of their origin. Although these two situations seem to be similar in many respects, they have led to different developments in the island languages. According to the results of our investigations so far, the differences are caused mainly by the stronger isolation of the Old Believers community. These two examples show that not only in situations of language contact of different types – symmetrical, asymmetrical, multidirectional, unidirectional, etc. – the genesis of mixed codes is not universal.