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The sociolinguistic evaluation and recording of the dying Kursenieku language

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Title: The sociolinguistic evaluation and recording of the dying Kursenieku language
Authors: Dalia Kiseliūnaitė
Issue Date: Feb 2016
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Kiseliūnaitė, Dalia. 2016. The sociolinguistic evaluation and recording of the dying Kursenieku language. In Vera Ferreira and Peter Bouda (eds.). Language Documentation and Conservation in Europe. 69-79. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
Series/Report no.: LD&C Special Publication
Abstract: Since the times of the Teutonic order until 1923, the Curonian Peninsula was a part of Prussia, and later – a part of Germany. Baltic tribes’ migration pro- cesses of different intensity occurred here. In the 16th century the newcomers from Latvian speaking Courland started to dominate, moving to the spit in several waves up to the 18th century; at the same time, people from the continental part (the majority of them were Germanized Prussians), colonizers from other German lands, and Lithuanians from the Klaipeda area settled in the region. The Kursenieku language, also known as New Curonian (German Nehrungskurisch) can be categorized as a mixture of Latvian Curonian dialects with Lithuanian, German, and elements of the now extinct Old Prussian. Since it had no written form, Kursenieku was roofed by Lithuanian and later by German, which had functioned as languages of religion and education for a long time. The community disintegrated at the end of World War II. After the Kursenieki community left their homeland and settled in different towns and villages of Germany, there was no practical use for the maintenance of Kursenieku. The chronological reconstruction of the Kursenieku is possible and useful for the Baltic studies; however, there is no motive for revitalization: nowadays, there is no community willing to use this language. This article briefly presents the development of the Kursenieku language in its ethnocultural context. Moreover, it raises the discussion around its status (variety or language), provides its sociolinguistic characteristics, describes the work that has been done with the language, and presents urgent goals and research perspectives.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/24660
ISBN: 978-0-9856211-5-5
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
Appears in Collections:LD&C Special Publication No. 9: Language Documentation and Conservation in Europe



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