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See detailSprachkontaktinduzierte Variation im luxemburgischen Konsonantismus
Conrad, François UL

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The young Luxembourgish language shows a strong contact with neighbouring French and German. The analysis of variation patterns in words that can be described as “phonological doublets” – words with a ... [more ▼]

The young Luxembourgish language shows a strong contact with neighbouring French and German. The analysis of variation patterns in words that can be described as “phonological doublets” – words with a variable pronunciation, either in a ‘French’ or ‘German’ way – revealed that the influence of French on the (linguistic) structure of Luxembourgish is decreasing, while nativization processes and the raising influence of German increases the similarities between Luxembourgish and German at the phonetic-phonological level. As the comparison of three generations shows, this change happened over some 60 years only, with the elder generation using more variants close to the French pronunciation (e.g. [s]ymbol, Organisa[sj]oun), whereas the younger generation uses more variants close to the German pronunciation (e.g. [z]ymbol, Organisa[tsj]oun). The data gathered in a three-step experiment (translation from French and German into Luxembourgish, reading task, self-evaluation task) further revealed the flexibility of the Luxembourgish phonological system, strongly influenced by and converging to the French/German pronunciation in the translation task. Finally, the competences of the speakers in the neighbouring languages play another key role in explaining the choice of the variants, whereas the self-evaluation task showed that the variation is in many cases not conscious to the speakers. The study of language contact involving three (not only two, as in many other studies) languages gives new insights in the ways of which one language can influence another one, while the chosen quantitative/statistical framework (variable rule program following William Labov) revealed itself very constructive in the analysis of variation patterns in Luxembourgish. In a broader linguistic view, the results show the plenitude of new linguistic insights that can be found through the study of Luxembourgish, a language which can only be fully understood by consideration of the neighbouring languages as well. [less ▲]

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