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The surface lexical layer of identity: Elites in negotiation with speakers

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Veranstaltungskategorie Vortrag


Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik


Focusing on Slavic languages, Danko Šipka provides a systematic approach to lexical indicators of cultural identity, postulating the following three layers: deep, exchange, and surface. The deep layer pertains to culture-specific words, divisions, and features that are generally not subject to change and intervention. The exchange layer includes lexical markers of cultural influences resulting from lexical borrowing, which situates the speakers into various cultural circles. This layer is subject to gradual changes and some limited level of intervention from linguistic elites is possible. The present lecture focuses on the surface layer, encompasses the processes and consequences of lexical planning. It is subject to abrupt changes and it is shaped in constant negotiation between linguistic elites and general body of speakers. The author proposes an epistemological construct for the study of the maneuvers linguistic elites are pursuing in enforcing authority and national unity and the consequences of such maneuvers. Concrete measures within this construct such as prominence, volume, and acceptance indicators, as well as lexical fragmentation, vertical, and horizontal distance are elaborated upon.

Dr. Danko Šipka

Lisa Ditz (anglistik [at] aau [dot] at)