The role of dialect in mother tongue retention of Slovene Canadians: a case study

Nada Šabec 1  and Mihaela Koletnik 1
  • 1 Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia
Nada Šabec and Mihaela Koletnik

Abstract

This article addresses the issue of mother tongue retention in the Slovene Canadian community of Vancouver. A brief social and historical profile of the community is followed by a description of the general linguistic situation, based on the data collected through questionnaires and participant observation. The results show substantial intergenerational variation in terms of the immigrants’ language use and language attitudes and point in the direction of a relatively rapid shift from Slovene to English, but not to the weakening of their sense of ethnic identity.

The focus then shifts to the linguistic aspects of Slovene-English language contact themselves. In addition to interference phenomena in the immigrants’ language such as borrowing from English and Slovene-English code switching, special attention is paid to the presence of dialect or standard features in their mother tongue. Lexis in particular is interesting as it shows traces of other languages. Next, we try to identify the most significant factors which affect the immigrants’ choice between Slovene and English in various contexts as well as their use of either dialect or standard in Slovene.

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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica publishes contributions on the variation of languages world-wide, systematic and inherent, diachronic and synchronic, regional and social, based on either oral or written data. It is open to all theoretical and methodological approaches. The journal is the official journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics (ISDG/SIDG).

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