Investigations into dialect emergence are most often
based on data from manuscripts and on comparative and internal
reconstructions. Seldom does the opportunity arise to monitor
the selection of competing norms during the emergence stage
because the data to postulate the linguistic marketplace
(and hence to know what forms were likely to have been
in competition) are unavailable. The case of dialect emergence
in Thyborøn, Denmark, over the past century offers
just this rare opportunity. A historical demographic profile
from the town's census data, dating back to its inception
in the 1890s, enables a comparative analysis of the input
dialects and variable linguistic forms that were in competition.
It is possible to trace the linguistic and social variables
at play during the emergence stage of this new dialect,
following the tradition of research by Omdal (1977), Dorian
(1981), Trudgill (1986), and Kerswill (1994b), among others.
The findings contribute to an explanatory model of dialect
emergence and transformation.