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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica

Journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics

Ed. by van Nahl, Astrid

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

Nada Šabec / Mihaela Koletnik
Published Online: 2017-11-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2017-0003


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.

Keywords: Slovene-English language contact; mother tongue retention; immigration; ethnic identity


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-11-27

Published in Print: 2017-11-27

Citation Information: Dialectologia et Geolinguistica, Volume 25, Issue 1, Pages 51–67, ISSN (Online) 1867-0903, ISSN (Print) 0942-4040, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2017-0003.

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