Language shift: the case of the Žeimiai area in the Kaunas-Jonava region

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Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Anglų kalba / English
Language shift: the case of the Žeimiai area in the Kaunas-Jonava region
In the Journal:
Acta Baltico-Slavica. 2019, Nr. 43, p. 41-58. Linguistic and cultural heritage of the baltic-slavic borderland. Continuity – loss – recovery
Multimodalinė dialektologija; Vietiniai lietuvių kalbos dialektai; Vietiniai lenkų kalbos dialektai; Konvergencija.
Multimodal dialectology; Local dialects of Lithuanian; Local dialects of Polish; Convergence.
Summary / Abstract:

ENAs a result of application of the principles of multidimensional dialectology in Lithuania in the early twenty-first century, the research discourse of Lithuanian dialectologists now covers not only the traditional dialects, but also several local language variations that continuously interact and compete with one another in the same geographical area. The processes of convergence and divergence of language variations are addressed in a more comprehensive manner, not only analysing the linguistic characteristics of a local variation, but also looking into the language environment (or language landscape) and the attitude of the local populace (especially the young generation) towards their linguistic homeland. The linguistic study presented in this article was conducted in the Žeimiai area in the Kaunas-Jonava region in 2015–2017. It involved interviews with 21 members of three generations of one family (15 females and 6 males aged 19 to 95), over 20 hours of audio material in total; the informants also answered a sociolinguistic survey. The description and analysis of collected material involved: (1) analysis of the degree of viability of language variations used in the area on the basis of a model of sociocultural networks of Žeimiai town; (2) description of the linguistic landscape of the region; (3) description of the linguistic behaviour and attitudes towards local variations on the basis of informants’ replies in the sociolinguistic survey; (4) analysis of salient phonetic features of the informants’ speech that best describe the local language variation in use. The collected and processed material allowed the researchers to investigate the competitiveness of local language variations in this area, identifying ones that have greater demand with representatives of different generations compared to others (cf. Inoue, 1997, p. 41).In the opinion of the authors of this article, a local Lithuanian variation has developed in the Kaunas-Jonava region on the basis of the local Polish variation actively used for decades; this variation cannot be seen as a natural continuation of the Western Higher Lithuanian subdialects of the Kaunas or Šiauliai regions. What makes it different from the traditional Lithuanian subdialects is the mixing of ė and ie, o and uo in stressed position, and the processes of neutralisation of intonation in stressed compound and mixed diphthongs. These phonetic features, which, as the analysis shows, have been preserved in the language of all three generations to a greater or lesser extent, were absorbed by the Lithuanian dialectal language from the local Polish subdialect. Consequently, the local Lithuanian variation currently spoken in the Kaunas-Jonava region cannot be considered a direct continuation of the old traditional dialect. [From the publication]

0065-1044; 2392-2389
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2020-07-28 20:26:07
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