The Contribution of Language Use, Language Attitudes, and Language Competence to Minority Language Maintenance: A Report from Austrian Carinthia

By Priestly, Tom; McKinnie, Meghan et al. | Journal of Slavic Linguistics, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

The Contribution of Language Use, Language Attitudes, and Language Competence to Minority Language Maintenance: A Report from Austrian Carinthia


Priestly, Tom, McKinnie, Meghan, Hunter, Kate, Journal of Slavic Linguistics


Abstract: During fieldwork in the Slovene-minority area of Austrian Carinthia in 1998-2000, over two hundred informants were interviewed in six localities. The interviews were designed to elicit three types of data: (i) language use in social networks, (ii) subjective perceptions of "ethnolinguistic vitality", and (iii) linguistic competence in Standard Slovene and Standard Austrian German. The three parameters were expected to correlate with each other. This article describes the questionnaire, scoring and analysis, and demonstrates that the three parameters of attitudes, social networks, and linguistic competence are indeed correlated with each other. Several specific conclusions are reported with regard to the factors which are involved in Slovene language-maintenance in Austria.

1. Introduction

Few quantitative studies of any minority language situation have combined the three parameters of language use, language attitudes, and language competence; such a study involves sociolinguistics, psychosociolinguistics, and descriptive linguistics, and perhaps it is this combination that has discouraged investigators. It appears, however, intuitively obvious that how many members of a minority use their language, what their attitudes toward it are, and how well they speak it are, to some degree at least, interdependent. The importance of a multidisciplinary approach is emphasized in theory by Giles et al. (1990) and in exemplary fashion in practice by Gorter (1997: 62), who, quoting Fishman (1965), writes: "The basic research question ... [is]: 'Who speaks what to whom when, why, and how'". He explains this statement as follows: to understand a minority language situation one must investigate four different kinds of variables: competence, use, attitudes, and socio-demographic characteristics. The last-named is clearly as essential as the others, but is not amenable to the kind of testing-by-interview of individual informants, which was the focus of the research whose results are reported here. (1) Austrian Carinthia, the home of a Slovene-speaking minority with a history of partial language-loss and familiar to the senior investigator who has worked in that location for over 20 years, is well suited to this type of multidisciplinary fieldwork, which was carried out in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

Nothing methodologically comparable to our study has been previously attempted in the Carinthian context; indeed to our knowledge nothing in the context of minority languages in all of eastern Europe. For Carinthia, which (largely because of the long-lasting political standoff between this part of Austria and the former Yugoslavia) has been relatively well-studied, historians, sociologists, political scientists, and linguists have made contributions, but each has worked monodisciplinarily. With two exceptions the only previous attempts at strict sociolinguistic analysis were the senior investigator's, were restricted to the same village, and were of a qualitative and not quantitative nature (see section 2.2). In the wider context of minority language study, this kind of multidisciplinary research has been carried out in several countries (2) (e.g., Canada: Allard and Landry 1992, 1994, Landry and Allard 1992; Spain: Cenoz and Valencia 1993; Netherlands: Gorter 1994; Israel: Kraemer et al. 1994), but, even in these instances, strictly descriptive aspects of research have seldom been correlated with sociolinguistic approaches. (3) The classical publications about European minority languages make data-based analyses of one or two of the three parameters, but even when two are analyzed, they are not correlated with each other. Thus Dorian (1981) describes her impressions of language use ("allocation") and language attitudes ("loyalty") and then carries out precise tests of competence; Woolard (1989) investigates language attitudes quantitatively, but her assessments of language use and competence (and other features) are qualitative; and while Vassberg (1993) performs statistical analyses of both language use and language attitudes, she does not correlate the two, and is not at all concerned with competence. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Contribution of Language Use, Language Attitudes, and Language Competence to Minority Language Maintenance: A Report from Austrian Carinthia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.