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Vidéo Année : 2021

Language practices in individual Sorbian-German family language policies



In my presentation I am discussing family language policy in a European autochthonous minority-majority language context. I focus on the influence of language practices in the home domain on the transmission of the minority language in linguistically mixed families. The Sorbs are a Slavic minority in the region of Lusatia in the eastern German federal states of Saxony and Brandenburg. In several regions of Lusatia the intergenerational transmission of Sorbian has been disrupted due to a shift to the dominant German language. Although language transmission is maintained in the Upper Lusatian region that I research, Sorbian is still weakened vis-a-vis German: asymmetric bilingualism prevails in the wider community and among the speakers of Sorbian the practice of accommodative convergence to German is widespread. My research project focuses on individual family language policies in Sorbian-German families, who have to negotiate their daily language choices in the absence of official support for language maintenance in the home domain. Based on participant observations, I investigate everyday language practices and the use of Sorbian and German in the families, paying attention to the functions for which each language is used (communication between different family members, storytelling, prayer, literacy practices). The observations of current practices are augmented by the participants’ relations of their language practices throughout their life, obtained through narrative biographic interviews. The influence of oral language practices on the transmission of Sorbian is seen within the context of further language policy components such as language ideologies and attitudes (Spolsky 2004, 2009). Family language policy is conceived as both implicit and explicit, involving both simple and complex/organised management (Shohamy 2006, Nekvapil 2006) and including conscious strategies for the transmission of Sorbian as well as a more laissez-faire approach to the use of Sorbian within the family.

Dates et versions

hal-03856149 , version 1 (16-11-2022)



  • HAL Id : hal-03856149 , version 1


Sara Mickec, Shahzaman Haque, Françoise Le Lièvre, Chan-Yuen Liu, Pierre-Jean Vigny, et al.. Language practices in individual Sorbian-German family language policies
: Politique linguistique familiale : oralité et transmission. 2021. ⟨hal-03856149⟩
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