Sociolinguistic Studies, Estudios de Sociolingüística 2.2 2001

Speakers’ attitudes in language change, contact-language genesis and language preservation

Sarah G. Thomason
Issued Date: 15 Mar 2007


Many contact situations around the world show that speakers can, and sometimes do, make deliberate changes in their languages. Although deliberate changes are likely to affect entire languages only in small speech communities, most –or perhaps all– pidgin and creole languages developed, at least at first, within relatively small groups of speakers. In several cases, documentary evidence indicates that speakers´ attitudes significantly affected the process of pidgin / creole genesis, and they may have done so in many more instances as well. Moreover, many or most of the world´s living pidgins and creoles are spoken by so few people that the languages are gravely endangered, and the attitudes of an endangered language´s speakers are the most important factor in determining the success of efforts to preserve the language. The future of Chabacano seems bright precisely because so many of its speakers are eager to engage in preservation activities.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v2i2.13


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