Pädagogische Hochschule Vorarlberg
Davydova, Julia; Dr. habil.
Davydova, Julia; Dr.
Ilg, Angelika; Mag. Dr. MA.
The study explores the extent to which linguistic globalisation and the ever increasing dominance of English have come to bear on the local languages in traditional sociolinguistic milieus. We set out to investigate the attitudes of 142 respondents from Vorarlberg, an Austrian state, towards their home dialects, High German, a local standardized variety, and English. While drawing on a verbal guise test (VGT) and a questionnaire as the main methods of study, we show that local dialects are viewed as badges of local identities, whereas standard German is appreciated for its utilitarian value. Remarkably, English emerges as a language of enormous social prestige with high levels of social attractiveness. English is further seen as a language allowing the inhabitants of Vorarlberg to connect to the larger world and become part of the global dialogue. We argue that rather than eroding the local cultures, English adds to the sociolinguistic fabric of traditionally diglossic societies, rendering their linguistic texture even more complex and enriched, not impoverished.