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dc.contributor.authorKennetz, Keith E.
dc.description.abstractThis study investigates folk perceptions of speech in post-reunified Germany, exploring how such perceptions are cognitively created, organized, and maintained. Using a modified form of Tamasi’s pile-sorting methodology (2003), this study specifically examines how German political disunity (i.e. "Mauer in den Köpfen" or "wall of the mind") is manifested in speech evaluations and further explores the cognitive factors involved in spatial perceptions of regional speech varieties. A total of sixty-one informants from two locations (Dresden, Saxony, and Bamberg, Bavaria) took part in a four-part interview designed to elicit their perceptions of variation in German. Informants were given cards with the names of German cities printed on them. They were asked to sort and divide the cards into piles according to where they think people speak differently. They were then given a set of social and linguistic descriptors with which they could describe and evaluate the dialect piles they had made. The third task asked participants to recognize and evaluate female and male voices from three locations within Germany (Dresden, Bamberg, and Hanover) using the same descriptors they used in the pile-sorting task. Lastly, informants were asked to answer a series of brief questions to clarify and substantiate quantitative results obtained in the previous tasks. Results from this study show that a "linguistic wall" clearly exists in the perceptions of West German respondents as revealed in their negative evaluation of eastern (Saxon) dialects. In contrast, Saxon informants do not maintain a perceptual ‘wall’ based on negative evaluations of western speech varieties; while they are aware of the negative linguistic stereotypes associated with their own dialect, Saxon informants perceive Saxon German to be just as pleasant as other regional varieties. Additional data show that informants’ spatial perceptions of speech are not only significantly influenced by non-speech information such as geographical or cultural knowledge but also by a lack of linguistic knowledge.
dc.subjectlanguage attitudes
dc.subjectpreceptual dialectology
dc.subjectfolk linguistics
dc.subjectSaxon German
dc.subjectlanguage variation
dc.titleGerman and German disunity
dc.title.alternativean investigation into the cognitive patterns and perceptions of language in post-unified Germany
dc.description.advisorWilliam Kretzschmar
dc.description.committeeWilliam Kretzschmar
dc.description.committeeBrigitte Rossbacher
dc.description.committeeRenate Born

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