Languages in Contact: French, German and Romansh in twentieth-century Switzerland

Languages in Contact: French, German and Romansh in twentieth-century Switzerland

by Uriel Weinreich, Ronald I. Kim, William Labov
     
 

The appearance of Uriel Weinreich's Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems (1953) marked a milestone in the study of multilingualism and language contact. Yet until now, few linguists have been aware that its main themes were first laid out in Weinreich’s Columbia University doctoral dissertation of 1951, Research Problems in Bilingualism withSee more details below

Overview

The appearance of Uriel Weinreich's Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems (1953) marked a milestone in the study of multilingualism and language contact. Yet until now, few linguists have been aware that its main themes were first laid out in Weinreich’s Columbia University doctoral dissertation of 1951, Research Problems in Bilingualism with Special Reference to Switzerland. Based on the author's fieldwork, it contains a detailed report on language contact in Switzerland in the first half of the 20th century, especially along the French-German linguistic border and between German and Romansh in the canton of Grisons (Graubünden). The present edition reproduces Weinreich's original text in full, with only minor alterations and corrections, as well as the author's fieldwork photographs and many of his hand-drawn diagrams. A new foreword reviews Weinreich's life and legacy, as well as developments in contact linguistics and the Swiss linguistic situation over the past 60 years. With selected comments on noteworthy points and references to more recent literature, this volume will be of interest not only to those working on the languages of Switzerland, or specialists in language contact, but all scholars today whose work builds on the broad and lasting foundations laid over half a century ago by Uriel Weinreich.

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Editorial Reviews

Ilaria Fiorentini
The importance of this volume lays first in the fact that, until now, few linguists have been aware that the main themes of LiC were first proposed in embryonic form here and even fewer had access to it. Besides its undeniable utility, the book is pleasant reading also thank to the inclusion of photos, hand-drawn diagrams and other material personally prepared by the author.
Antje Muntendam
Overall, this is a groundbreaking book that offers important insights into bilingualism and language contact. Although the dissertation was written in the 1950s, it is still highly relevant. It raises important questions in the field of bilingualism and language contact, such as questions regarding the direction and nature of cross-linguistic influence and the borrowability of linguistic elements. These questions are still a topic of debate. In addition, the book addresses methodological issues and is an inspiring example of well-conducted fieldwork. Finally, it shows the importance of comparative research to better understand the outcome of bilingualism at different levels.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9789027211873
Publisher:
Benjamins, John Publishing Company
Publication date:
11/23/2011
Pages:
435
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.20(d)

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