Abstract

Traditional dialects have been encroached upon by the increasing mobility of their speakers and by the onslaught of national languages in education and mass media. Typically, older dialects are “leveling” to become more like national languages. This is regrettable when the last articulate traces of a culture are lost, but it also promotes a complex dynamics of interaction as speakers shift from dialect to standard and to intermediate compromises between the two in their forms of speech. Varieties of speech thus live on in modern communities, where they still function to mark provenance, but increasingly cultural and social provenance as opposed to pure geography. They arise at times from the need to function throughout the different groups in society, but they also may have roots in immigrants’ speech, and just as certainly from the ineluctable dynamics of groups wishing to express their identity to themselves and to the world. The future of dialects is a selection of the papers presented at Methods in Dialectology XV, held in Groningen, the Netherlands, 11-15 August 2014. While the focus is on methodology, the volume also includes specialized studies on varieties of Catalan, Breton, Croatian, (Belgian) Dutch, English (in the US, the UK and in Japan), German (including Swiss German), Italian (including Tyrolean Italian), Japanese, and Spanish as well as on heritage languages in Canada

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This paper was published in Language Science Press.

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