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Independent, Dependent and Interdependent Variables in Language Decay and Language Death

  • Wolfgang U. Dressler (a1)


This contribution gives in its first part an overview on factors of the decay and death of whole languages, focusing on dependency relations between these factors. They are organised along the following dimensions: socio-political, socio-economic, sociocultural, socio-psychological, and linguistic dimensions. The order of these dimensions partially represents a causal chain from left to right, but with many feedback relations. The second part of this article deals with early (socio-)linguistic indicators of language decay and discusses in this respect massive and asymmetric borrowing from the dominant into the recessive language, the loss of productivity of word formation patterns in the latter (illustrated from Breton), changes in name-giving (doubtful), shift of ‘foreign accent’ from the dominant to the recessive language, borrowing of morphological and syntactic patterns (inconclusive).



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