Author(s): Wlck W
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Abstract Since Greenberg the recognition of linguistic universals has been the backbone of language typology. Earlier Garvin had already divided universals into absolute and potential ones, the former uncontested cornerstones of linguistic theory, the latter commonly accepted generalizations among experienced professionals. The 'universals' to be discussed here are of the latter type: tried and tested principles of language maintenance and of language change, whose applicability has been established in numerous language contact and conflict situations in different communities. Among the principles displayed and discussed are the following: Fishman's 'intergenerational dislocation' of language reproduction; Haugen's 'dialect fragmentation' of languages vs. Garvin's 'unification' and standardization; Fishman's claim of the complementary distribution of language functions as a guarantee of stable bilingualism; Wölck's disparate distribution of minority language maintenance along the social scale. Evidence for those and some other 'universals' of language maintenance and change will be provided from a 30-year longitudinal survey of Quechua-Spanish bilingualism in Peru; from Seneca-English bilingualism in New York; from studies of diglossia in Scotland and North Germany, of German-Hungarian bilingualism in Hungary from the Ladin survey in Italy and the Sorbian Project in Germany, and from the EUROMOSAIC survey.
This article was published in Coll Antropol
and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism