A sociolinguistic study of bitburger platt german

Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Humanities
Department Linguistics
Author Pischnotte, Zebulon Aaron
Title A sociolinguistic study of bitburger platt german
Date 2015-05
Description Bitburger Platt, spoken in the Eifel region of western Germany, exhibits a merger of the Standard German (d) and (t) sounds, the reflexes of West Germanic *6 and *d, respectively. A chain shift yielded the modern Standard German variants. Biburger Platt, however, did not follow through with the first phase of this shift; rather, the two sounds were merged into [d] in the dialect (Veith, 1999). As an example, the Standard German phrase du tust ‘you do (cognate to English thou doest)’ is realized in Bitburger Platt as [dou dej s]. Bitburg is a town where many (if not most) residents are undergoing or have recently undergone a transition from a home-based, agrarian lifestyle to one requiring a commute to an urban center and more contact with nonlocals. Such a transition has been shown by other studies (Hofmann, 1963, Besch, 1981, Lenz, 2003) to go hand-in-hand with language shift, specifically a shift from the use of base dialects (basilects) to regional colloquial varieties that lie on a continuum between the base dialect and the standard and exhibit features of both. The effects of situational and social factors on one’s language use have long been attested. Labov (1963, 1966) mainstreamed the discipline of studying such variation in language, but others before his time showed awareness of it as well (Vietor, 1875, Wegener, 1891). A sociolinguistic study can reveal much about a particular speech community, ranging from qualitative information on the community’s attitudes toward their language to quantifiable data that reveal how the individual community members actually speak. This study focuses heavily on the latter, specifically investigating correlations between participants’ age, gender, and recording situation and their articulation of the alveolar stop consonants (d) and (t). Participants first took part in recorded interviews with me, and then in a conversation with a close friend or family member, during which I was not present. Their recordings were subsequently searched for all tokens with Standard German (d) and (t) correspondences in initial and medial position. Those tokens in initial position underwent analysis for voice onset time (VOT) and harmonic difference (H1-H2), both proven to be acoustic correlates to fortis/lenis contrasts (Lisker and Abramson, 1964, Jessen, 1996). Medial tokens underwent analysis for the parameter of closure duration, also shown to be a fortis/lenis correlate. Results indicate that participants show an overwhelming preference for merged variants in conversational speech - the indicator of dialecticity. In interview speech, however, the fortis/lenis contrast is maintained by all but the older men, a likely consequence of changing linguistic norms in the community.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject German; Phonetics; Sociolinguistics
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Zebulon Aaron Pischnotte 2015
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,536,837 Bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3733
ARK ark:/87278/s6mw5rdf
ID 197284
setname ir_etd
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=197284
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