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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by Akademie Verlag 2012

Sprachkontakt in der Schule: Deutschunterricht in Mikronesien (1884–1914)

Doris Stolberg

Abstract

During German colonialism in the Pacific, language contact between German and the local languages took place in different areas and in varying intensity. The numbers of native speakers of German were low, and in many cases German was not the means of communication, so that comparatively little language contact occurred naturally. Despite this situation, several native languages in the German colonial area integrated loanwords from German and preserved them up until today. Quantitative differences in borrowing between the affected languages are arguably due to extralinguistic factors influencing contact duration and intensity as well as local language attitudes. There is one area where the use of German was explicitly supported by the government, viz. schools. The present paper investigates the numbers of students who came into contact with instruction of or in German. Many schools were mission-run, and in particular non-German missions had problems finding qualified teachers for their German instruction. After an overview of population proportions regarding speakers of German and school attendance, this paper compares quantitative loanword data to contact opportunities with German in schools, drawing a tentative conclusion on whether instruction in German, as one extralinguistic factor influencing language contact, had a measurable effect on lexical borrowing from German.