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Example 7 from Chapter 1 from J Holmes book


In a mountain village, Sauris, in north-east Italy, a sociolinguist, Denison, reported in

1971 that the adults were all trilingual. Before 1866, the village had been part of the

Austrian empire, and its villagers all spoke German. In the late 1960s, they still used

a German dialect in the home, and to neighbours and fellow villagers. They also

used the regional language Friulian with people from the surrounding area outside

the village, and the young men, in particular, tended to use it to each other in the pub.

These men had gone to secondary school together in Ampezzo, a nearby town, and

Friulian had become for them a language of friendship and solidarity. Italian was the

language people used to talk to those from beyond the region, and for reading and

writing. Because their village was now part of Italy, Italian was the language of the

church and the school.


Discuss the linguistic variations used in Sauris. How would you describe each variation and which factors are affecting the choices made by speakers?

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