Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vsgnj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-22T21:39:35.765Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

11 - Subjective factors in dialect convergence and divergence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Tore Kristiansen
Affiliation:
Lecturer Institute for Danish Dialect Research, University of Copenhagen
Jens Normann Jørgensen
Affiliation:
Professor Department of Nordic Studies, University of Copenhagen
Peter Auer
Affiliation:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany
Frans Hinskens
Affiliation:
Meertens Institute, Amsterdam and and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Paul Kerswill
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Get access

Summary

Objective and Subjective Factors in Language Variation and Change

Since the 1960s new technologies for registering and analysing spoken language have greatly advanced our theoretical and methodological understanding of the many and complex factors involved in language variation and change, including the physiological constitution of our speech organs, the mental capacity of our brains, the structure of linguistic varieties, the linguistic context of particular variables, the social embedding of variation, and the social evaluation of variants and varieties. These factors are commonly divided and grouped in various ways: internal versus external; linguistic versus social versus (socio)psychological; macro versus micro. All of these divisions reflect important aspects of variation and change.

However, if we want to answer the why question of variation and change, the fundamental distinction is between necessary and sufficient factors. All the aspects listed above are necessary factors in language variation and change, in the sense that they are always involved. But it is our contention that only the sociopsychological, subjective factors can constitute the driving force behind such processes. In that sense, they alone are the sufficient factors. Language is a social phenomenon. Without users (in the plural), there is no language. The purpose of language is to contribute to the social construction of reality, including the transmission of collective experience from generation to generation. Languages are not plants with lives of their own, they are tools. Whenever these tools are the objects of tuning or adjustment, it is so because it serves human purposes.

Type
Chapter
Information
Dialect Change
Convergence and Divergence in European Languages
, pp. 287 - 302
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×