A Linguistic Anthropology of Praxis and Language Shift: Arvanitika (Albanian) and Greek in Contact


Lukas D. Tsitsipis explores a case of linguistic shift in the Balkans. He focuses on Arvanitika, an Albanian variety spoken in Greece which is under threat through a process of attrition. Various factors relating the linguistic to the non-linguistic aspects of the shift are examined in detail. The emphasis is on both the macro-processes responsible for the shift as they emerge from the broader sociopolitical conditions of the Greek nation-state, and on the local communities' discourse as a complex response to these forces. Pragmatic aspects of discourse, power relations, the surfacing of linguistic ideology, and aspects of performance all figure prominently in a synthesis which shows that speakers are active respondents to social and political pressures. The author derives his inspiration from theoretical and methodological traditions in linguistic anthropology, but with political theory becomes as a central concern. In a period when linguistic anthropology is becoming reflexive and facing its social responsibilities, language shift is a locus for critical reflection: discourse about languages is ultimately discourse about human beings and the political process. Series Information Series Editor: Professor Suzanne Romaine, Merton College, University of Oxford Series ISBN: 0-19-961466-0 Series Description: Most of the world's speech communities are multilingual, and contact between languages is thus an important force in the everyday lives of most people. Studies of language contact should therefore form an integral part of work in theoretical, social, and historical linguistics. This series makes available a collection of research monographs which present case studies of language contact around the world. As well as providing an indispensable source of data for the serious researcher, it contributes significantly to theoretical developments in the field.