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Upper Sorbian “native speakers” and “new speakers”. Power relations and language ideologies in minority language education

Nicole Dołowy-Rybińska, Cordula Ratajczak

Pages 1 - 23


The article presents results of a sociolinguistic research project on language contact and conflict between native speakers and learners of Sorbian in the Upper Sorbian Grammar School in Bautzen/ Budyšin (Germany). Although Sorbian native-speaking pupils and learners spend a significant part of their lives in the same school, non-natives rarely acquire Sorbian language competences allowing them to communicate in Sorbian. It is also hard for them to integrate with the Sorbian speech community. This difficulty is due to different language ideologies from both the German and the Sorbian side (such as ideology of ownership, of legitimate speakers, of authenticity) as well as to the relations of power between these two groups. We are dealing with what can be called the reversal of the hegemonic power that determines the relations between the Sorbian minority and the German majority: nationalism and the monolingual paradigm make it difficult for new speakers to integrate.


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