In contrast to language shift, language maintenance appears to be a static phenomenon. Yet this article displays language maintenance as a process, applying the Language Management Theory. On the ground of a case study at a Catholic Sorbian parish in eastern Germany, the study shows that the Sorbian language is maintained in the church through numerous minute interventions at different levels. The findings suggest that the actual process of language maintenance and shift is much more complex than the conventional dualism of “top-down” vs. “bottom-up” assumes. It is argued that in order to get a more reliable understanding of how language maintenance and shift is attained, it is necessary to pay due attention to the interplay of various processes between and within simple and organized management.
©2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Munich/Boston