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Open Access The Remains of the Danes: The Final Stages of Language Shift in Sanpete County, Utah

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The Remains of the Danes: The Final Stages of Language Shift in Sanpete County, Utah

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This article first presents an overview of the social and demographic phenomena specific to the language shift situation in Sanpete County, Utah, focusing on the biggest non-English-speaking group, the Danes. This overview includes the assimilation norms that were present in the community (including from the dominant religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), social and geographical isolation, and related issues of identity and language maintenance. Using interdisciplinary methods under the rubric of sociocultural linguistic research, our analysis presents an overview of the state of Danish in today’s Sanpete County, then further divides the Danish linguistic elements into two main categories: overt and covert. The analysis of these items makes use of the notion of postvernacular language use, as well as highlighting the female and domestic-related networks of transmission. This study of the Danish-language situation in Sanpete County offers a glimpse of the final stages of complete language shift, revealing information about a rare and under-examined linguistic community within the American context.

Affiliations: 1: University of Copenhagen, karoline.kuehl@hum.ku.dk ; 2: University of Helsinki, elizabeth.peterson@helsinki.fi

This article first presents an overview of the social and demographic phenomena specific to the language shift situation in Sanpete County, Utah, focusing on the biggest non-English-speaking group, the Danes. This overview includes the assimilation norms that were present in the community (including from the dominant religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), social and geographical isolation, and related issues of identity and language maintenance. Using interdisciplinary methods under the rubric of sociocultural linguistic research, our analysis presents an overview of the state of Danish in today’s Sanpete County, then further divides the Danish linguistic elements into two main categories: overt and covert. The analysis of these items makes use of the notion of postvernacular language use, as well as highlighting the female and domestic-related networks of transmission. This study of the Danish-language situation in Sanpete County offers a glimpse of the final stages of complete language shift, revealing information about a rare and under-examined linguistic community within the American context.

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/content/journals/10.1163/19552629-01102003
2018-04-12
2018-09-22

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