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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

6 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2015, Issue 231


The “new” and “traditional” speaker dichotomy: bridging the gap

Michael Hornsby
Published Online: 2014-12-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2014-0034


This article analyzes the tensions and dynamics which exist between “new” speakers and other speakers, such as traditional or native speakers of minority languages (MLs), in an attempt to discover just how much of a barrier to communication are the (perceived) differences which are purported to exist between them. The dynamics between “new” and native speakers seem to be complex and nuanced, and “(in)authenticity” can be indexed through accent, the lexicon and grammatical structures, both by local users and more widely by researchers and other interested third parties, reflecting a wide range of ideo-logical stances. Using a critical sociolinguistic framework, these differences are examined from the perspective of the power differentials among and between various ML speakers/users in two situations of language endangerment, Breton and Yiddish. The reproduction of “symbolic violence”, as described by Bourdieu (1991), which results from such differentials can hinder language revitalization projects and can run counter to the interests of the language community in question. Both settings appear to share a commonality of experience that is wider than just the two language communities under scrutiny here and possible ways of reconciling such differences are examined toward the end of the article.

Keywords: Breton; Yiddish; minority; authenticity; speakerhood

About the article

Published Online: 2014-12-18

Published in Print: 2015-01-01

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2015, Issue 231, Pages 107–125, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2014-0034.

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©2015 Hornsby, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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