15.2387, Review: Socioling/Hist Ling: Deumert & Vandenbussche

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LINGUIST List:  Vol-15-2387. Wed Aug 25 2004. ISSN: 1068-4875.

Subject: 15.2387, Review: Socioling/Hist Ling: Deumert & Vandenbussche

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Date:  Wed, 25 Aug 2004 12:15:57 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Stephan Elspass <s.elspass at gmx.de>
Subject:  German Standardizations: Past to Present

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Wed, 25 Aug 2004 12:15:57 -0400 (EDT)
From:  Stephan Elspass <s.elspass at gmx.de>
Subject:  German Standardizations: Past to Present

EDITORS: Deumert, Ana; Vandenbussche, Wim
TITLE: German Standardizations
SUBTITLE: Past to Present
SERIES: Impact: Studies in language and society 18
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
YEAR: 2003
Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/14/14-3122.html

Stephan Elspaß, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (Germany)


This book is intended to provide ''a comprehensive and comparative
introduction to the standardization processes of the Germanic
languages''; it thus presents an exercise in ''comparative
standardology'' (p. 1). The editors of the present volume, Ana Deumert
(Monash University, Melbourne) and Wim Vandenbussche (Vrije
Universiteit Brussel/FWO-Vlaanderen), have brought together sixteen
contributions on Germanic languages and varieties: twelve articles on
the various Germanic standard languages, plus articles on Low German,
Scots and Pacific and Caribbean Germanic Creole languages, each
written by (an) authoritative scholar/authoritative scholars of the
respective languages and varieties. The sixteen chapters, organized in
alphabetical order of the languages, are framed by an introduction and
a résumé by the two editors.

In their introduction, ''Standard languages: Taxonomies and
histories'', Ana Deumert and Wim Vandenbussche outline the idea and
concept behind the volume. The initiative for the present book was
taken at the 2002 standardization conference in Sheffield
(cf. Linn/McLelland 2002, see the review of Mark Pierce in Linguist
List 14.1738), where not only the lack of cross-border and comparative
studies on standardisation was deplored but also the lack of an
authoritative and up-to-date work on the processes and problems of
standardization in a wide range of languages. While most other works
on standardisation focus on a few languages only and take a variety of
perspectives, the editors of the present volume wanted to concentrate
on a single language family, i. e.  the Germanic, and took Einar
Haugen's four-step model of standardization as a starting point for
the portrayals of individual standardization histories: The
contributors were asked to outline the standardization process of the
respective languages according to Haugen's model, i. e. ''norm
selection -- norm codification -- norm implementation -- norm
elaboration'' (Haugen 1966) or ''selection -- codification --
elaboration -- acceptance'' (Haugen 1972) respectively. Haugen's
concept of standardisation is intrinsically linked with ''a form of
writing'', thus not explicitly including any form of 'spoken standard'
(Haugen 1994: 4340). In the following account of the individual
chapters of this heavy volume, I will concentrate on Haugen's four
aspects of standardisation.


In the first chapter, PAUL T. ROBERGE depicts the standardization
history of 'Afrikaans'. Afrikaans is one of the fairly small and only
recently standardized Germanic languages. Based on his own research
and a recent study by Ana Deumert, Roberge challenges the ''standard
view'' that between 1750 and 1775, a spoken vernacular of Dutch had
developed in the Cape colony which was elevated to modern Standard
Afrikaans.  Roberge and Deumert have revealed, however, that ''well
into the early twentieth century'', the language situation was not
characterized by a structural polarity between a ''metropolitan
Dutch'' and a ''standard Afrikaans'', but by a linguistic continuum
with distinctive patterns of variation. Codification of Afrikaans can
only be traced back to the last quarter of the nineteenth
century. Roberge identifies the years of the Anglo-Boer War (1899 --
1902) and after as the period of intensive norm elaboration, which
culminated in the political recognition of Afrikaans in
1925. Afrikaans had been widely accepted as a national language in the
20th century. As it became more and more associated with the
'apartheid' regime, however, the recent development may be more aptly
labelled 'diminishing acceptance', and in recent years it has lost
much ground to English in the public sector.

Although the language contact history leading to the development of
the 'Caribbean Creoles', which are portrayed by HUBERT DEVONISH, goes
back to Columbus' landing on the Bahamas in 1492, the creoles are
unquestionably to be counted among the languages with the shortest
standardization history. Devonish focuses on Caribbean English-lexicon
Creoles, as Caribbean Dutch Creoles are almost extinct. The Caribbean
Creoles are not to be confused with Caribbean varieties of standard
European languages like Surinamese Dutch or Caribbean Standard
English.  In a commonly held opinion about the diglossic situation in
the Caribbean states, however, Caribbean English-lexicon Creoles are
often viewed as broken forms of English.  -- The standardization
process of the Caribbean Creoles is not only young but also
unfinished. As for norm selection, recent proposals aim at
''identifying a common variety which could be used to greatest
communicative effect'' (p. 49) and selecting ''the most intelligible''
variety as the norm (p. 52).  Sociolinguistically, the standardization
of Caribbean Creole is intertwined with an attempt to create and
maintain a distance between English and Creole, which in Jamaican
Creole manifests itself primarily at the level of the lexicon. This
faces practical problems, however, as lexicographical efforts are
apparently not coordinated with the language use in the new media, the
public domain where the acceptance of Caribbean Creoles has shown most

'Danish' by contrast, is one of the ''old'' standardized Germanic
languages. Although Denmark was never ruled by a foreign power for a
longer period of time, as TORE KRISTIANSEN writes, its language
history has seen the influence and dominance of ''exoglossic
standards'' in various domains, in particular Latin, Low German, High
German and French. When the standardization process of Danish was
''accelerated'' from around 1500, the polycentric language situation
with basically three regional varieties was gradually replaced by
centripetal tendencies towards the new centre, Zealand and the capital
city Copenhagen. As for the aspect of norm selection, Kristiansen
elaborates on the ongoing debate about the ''Copenhagenness'' of
Standard Danish.  While he stresses that the ''reconstruction'' of the
national norm ''continues to be negotiated'', he makes clear that in
his view there is no denial of the fact of the Copenhagenness of the
standard norm and that the debate ''should be seen as an ideological
phenomenon'' (p. 74).  A prerequisite for the processes of
codification and elaboration was the introduction of printing and the
victory of the Protestant Reformation in the early fifteenth
century. Due to its early codification -- first efforts can be traced
back to the sixteenth century -- Danish in its written form is fairly
conservative and still close to Swedish and Norwegian. Spoken Danish,
however, has moved away from other languages of Nordic origin, ''to
the extent of disturbing the mutual intelligibility between Danes and
their Nordic neighbours'' (p. 78). Particularly after the end of the
dominance of German at court and in government offices in the early
nineteenth century, Danish became widely and fully accepted, ending in
the abandonment of Gothic script (after 1860) and majuscule writing of
nouns (1948). In recent years English has appeared as a new exoglossic
standard. Fears of looming ''destandardization tendencies'' in Danish
are not shared by Kristiansen; in his view, public language debates on
orthographic matters in recent years (''mayonnaise war'', ''comma
war'') ''can only be understood in terms of an absolute and
unconditioned acceptance of the traditional, existing norm''
(p. 88). He concedes, however, that the language use of young Danes
has led to two standards, ''one for the media and one for the
school'', which may be explained by a general trend towards a
liberation from traditional formalities.

In the following chapter on 'Dutch', Roland Willemyns emphasizes the
pluricentric character of Dutch and focuses on the different
standardization processes in the Netherlands and in Flanders.
Accordingly, Willemyns writes two standardization histories, a) one
for 'the North', b) one for 'the South'. The disparities increased
particularly after the revolt of the Low Countries against catholic
Spain in the sixteenth century and after the end of the Eighty Years
War (1568 -- 1648), when ''the centre of gravity of standardization''
gradually passed from the old economic and cultural centres in the
South (Flanders and Brabant) to the North (p. 95). These tendencies
increased after the Eighty Years War, when educated Flemings emigrated
to the Low Countries. The Reformation and its aftermath thus played a
crucial role in the selection and codification process.

a) Norm codification, particularly on the level of grammar, became a
major topic in the eighteenth century Netherlands. Like elsewhere
(e.g.  in Germany), 'rule inventors' competed with 'rule describers',
who aimed at propagating linguistic rules which could be derived from
actual language usage. A group of ''language despotists'' appear to
have gained the upper hand with regard to written language, causing a
deepening gap between written and spoken Dutch. Overall, however,
Willemyns rates the influence of grammarians as rather limited;
selection and codification processes were always rather linked to
''practical'' aims (language of the bible, of commerce
etc.). According to Willemyns, a written language norm was only
identifiable at about 1900. The elaboration and acceptance of a spoken
norm was a matter of the twentieth century: By the mid-twentieth
century, only 3% of the population mastered ''Algemeen Beschaafd
Nederlands'' ('General Civilized Dutch'), a spoken variety based on
''the language used by the better situated classes in the larger
western cities (the Randstad)'' (p. 110).  (This may illustrate why --
according to Haugen's model -- a 'spoken norm' cannot be a
prerequisite for the definition of a 'standard': The view that there
was no standard Dutch until after the mid-twentieth century is hardly

b) The Flemish-speaking South had practically no say in the
standardization process of the nineteenth century: French became the
dominant language in the public domain after the independence of
Belgium in 1830. Written Flemish Dutch remained the language in
chancelleries, city halls, guilds and private correspondence and
formed the foundation of today's national variety of Dutch in Belgium.

Recent history has seen a North-South levelling and convergence in
pronunciation and lexicon. In the Netherlands, growing opposition
towards the urban (Randstadt) dialects can be observed, and -- as in
the Danish case -- ''potential destandardization tendencies''
(p. 117).

'English', as depicted by TERTTU NEVALAINEN, is the prototype of an
''old'' language whose standardisation process started off in a
political and economic centre, i. e. the London area. ''Norm
selection'' and ''norm acceptance'' in written language can be found
as early as the 15th century when the ''Chancery Standard'' of the
central bureaucracy (''East- Midland-based, southern rather than
northern in outline'', p. 133) was adopted by the first
printers. Acording to Nevalainen, ''norm codification'' and ''norm
elaboration'' took place after the Restoration and have seen various
forms on the different linguistic levels: Whereas the codification of
spelling was ''virtually completed in print by about 1650'' (p. 138),
lexis was far from being 'standardised' and underwent heavy borrowing
instead, in particular from Latin, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The
18th century saw first efforts to codify the grammar. In the 19th
century, the standardisation process was dominated by a standard
language ideology in which ''linguistic purity began to be associated
with moral and religious rectitude'' (p. 144; for an overview of
puristic tendencies in the Germanic languages cf. Langer & Davies,
forthcoming). The modern history of English is characterised by its
emergence as a pluricentric language with various national varieties.

The history of 'Faroese', as described by ZAKARIS SVABO HANSEN, JÓGVAN
Í LON JACOBSEN and EIVIND WEYHE, is a peculiar case of a more than a
millennium old speech community which has undergone (written)
standardization only in recent time. The Faroe Islands, once ''part of
the Old Norse cultural sphere'' (p. 159), have been under Danish rule
for more than six hundred years. (The Faroes became autonomous though
not independent in 1948). But although the Danish language has been
the language of law, court and church after the Reformation, the
population has continued to use Faroese dialects in their everyday
communication.  The language situation on the Faroese Islands is
therefore characterized by a ''bilingual society'' (ibid.), with
Faroese representing the principal, though not national language. The
standardization history of Faroese is insofar unusual, as it did not
undergo a 'typical' norm selection process; it ''did not originate
from a social, political or geographical centre of power'' (p. 166).
Codification efforts commenced around 1800 in connection with the
recording of old ballad texts and have been dominated by a spelling
system on etymological principles, causing a ''large discrepancy
between orthography and pronunciation'' (p. 161). Thus, the nineteenth
century codification has basically affected the orthography and
grammar, not pronunciation -- still today there can only be talk of
''a tendency to a spoken language standard'' (p. 165). The most
important measure in the norm elaboration was the enlargement of the
lexicon, by word formation and -- to a lesser extent -- borrowing, to
make Faroese fit ''as a 'valid' language in all areas of society and
in all situations'' (p.  158). Norm implementation, particularly in
the schools and the media, started with the beginning of the national
movement in 1888. Recent developments include proposals to bring
orthography and grammar closer to the subsistent norms of the spoken
language, but these do not appear to have changed the overall
conservative nature of written Faroese.

ERIC HOEKSTRA restricts his article on 'Frisian' on the West-Frisian
branch of this old Germanic language. Hoekstra first gives a short
overview of standardization processes of written Old Frisian (ca 1200
to 1550): Most texts from this period dealt with legal matters, others
included chronicles or religious texts. Norm selection was closely
connected with the role of Latin and its influence on these text
genres, norm elaboration consisted mainly in the acquisition of new
genres for Old Frisian, and the question of norm acceptance was
closely linked to the power and prestige of the writers, who mostly
served secular and religious authorities (p. 194). With the lack of a
(central) political and economic power, however, the socio-cultural
basis of Old Frisian was ''very small'', so that it lost most domains
of written language to Dutch and Low German, particularly after the
introduction of printing (pp. 194f.). The Middle Frisian period (ca
1550 to 1800) may be characterised by ''a slumbering written
language'' which largely departed from the norms of Old Frisian and a
spoken language which, in the West-Frisian area, was a result of a
mixing with Dutch (''Stêdsk'' 'Town Frisian', p. 195f.); Middle
Frisian thus hardly qualifies as a standard language. With a lack of a
continuous literary tradition in Frisian, norm codification of Modern
Frisian (after 1800) had to start virtually from scratch. Out of the
three main dialect areas of West Frisian, 'Clay Frisian' in the
Northwest seems to have been most influential in the selection
process, as it was the wealthiest region and home of some of the
figureheads of the Frisian movement (p. 199). This movement seems to
have been the most important promoter of the elaboration of Frisian, a
task which in the twentieth was adopted by the 'Frisian Academy'
(founded 1938) and the 'General Frisian Education Committee' (founded
1927). Hoekstra criticizes that the Academy's attention to the
codification of Frisian ''has been heavily focused on lexicography at
the expense of grammar'', so that ''no substantial grammar has
appeared'', and that the Education Committee endorses the
pronunciation of 'Clay Frisian' as the 'spoken standard'; in view of
the factual variety, 'Clay Frisian' may as well be regarded as a
variety within the standard (pp. 203f.). A problem for norm acceptance
which arises from this practice is that the Frisian standard, as it is
propagated by the Education Committee, has a 'bookish' note
(''boekjefrisk'') to the speakers. In spite of Frisian's status an
official language, which may be used in formal domains, and although
it is used ostentatiously by pro-Frisian politicians, the acceptance
of Frisian as a written and public language seems to be low among the
Frisian speaking population, which clearly prefers Dutch as the
written language (p. 206). This sociolinguistic situation and the
progressing erosion of Frisian ''through on-going influence from
Dutch'' (ibid.) leaves the reviewer to wonder whether Frisian may be
regarded as a standard language at all. According to Hoekstra it is
''really in between being a dialect and a standard language''
(p. 207).

In contrast to other 'big' European languages such as English and
French, 'German' departed from a ''decentralized communicative
space'', as KLAUS J. MATTHEIER writes (p. 214). The norm selection
started at the beginning of the 16th century: In a 'verticalization
process' (Oskar Reichmann), hitherto 'horizontally' layered regional
print languages of High German -- plus the Low German print language
-- were gradually replaced by a mixture of 'general German' and East
Middle German. 'General German' (''Gemeines Deutsch'') was based on
the East Upper German written dialect, which -- according to Mattheier
- - describes ''a supra-regional and even proto-standard variety'' (p.
215). After 1520/30, East Middle German gained crucial importance
through the work of Luther (pp. 216f.). The 16th and 17th centuries
were thus characterized by a ''norm dualism'': the catholic southern
German states favoured 'general German', whereas the protestant
northern and central states showed a clear preference for East Upper
German variants (p. 217). The selection phase reached completion as
late as the 18th century, when the southern states adopted the norms
set up in the grammatical works of Johann Christoph Gottsched, a clear
advocate of East Middle German. Early grammars in 16th century
developed out of descriptive works for 'German as a foreign language'
(p. 225) and the first codificatory writings aimed at an elaboration
of chancery norms (p. 223). As in many other Germanic languages, the
growing awareness of the need for a ''national language'' as a symbol
of national identification -- ''especially in competition with Latin
and French'' -- was an important motive for the codification of the
written norm; however, at the same time the concept of a uniform and
educated German national language ''became a marker of social
differentiation'' (p. 219). Contrary to general opinion, the famous
'language societies' of the 17th century did not have any direct
effect on codification. Undoubtedly, the works of Gottsched and Johann
Christoph Adelung were more efficient, not least because these authors
tried to record the norms of real usage, which they found in the texts
of the 'best writers'. 'Norm elaboration' refers to ''the extension of
the functional range of the standard variety'' (p. 230) to the areas
of private communication, technical and scientific language, legal
language, literary language, the language of the political public etc.

Norm selection, norm codification and norm elaboration of German may
thus be seen as chronologically overlapping processes. Norm acceptance
marks, in Mattheier's view, the state of ''a situation where the
standard language is used by all members of the speech community in a
wide range of functions'' (p. 234). All regional differences
considered, it may ''be maintained for around 1900 that the German
written standard language was accepted in the entire German speech
community as a model norm, and also that the standard variety was
actively known by large segments of the population'' (p. 236). Norm
acceptance, hence the full accomplishment of a standard German
language at the beginning of the 20th century, is thus different from
''the existence of a standard language norm with relatively stable
features'' in the late 18th century (p. 227), which is so often
confused with Standard German in German linguistics. 20th century
developments include the development of national varieties in Germany,
Austria and German-speaking Switzerland (''pluricentricity''), the
rise of ''regional standards'' (by some scholars captured in the term
''pluriareality'') and ''destandardization'' processes (p. 239). It
may be added that the information on pp. 237ff. that (only) twenty
percent of Germans have not acquired a dialect in their youth is
certainly outdated -- or is based on a very broad interpretation of

KRISTJÁN ÁRNASON devotes most of his article on 'Icelandic' to the
development of Old Icelandic. This appears to be justified by the fact
that ''the language used by Snorri Sturluson in the thirteenth century
is the same code as the one used by writers such as Halldór Laxness in
the twentieth century'' (p. 274). As for the norm selection process,
Árnason rejects a widely held opinion according to which the spoken
language of the early settlers, that served as a model for early
written Icelandic, ''was a 'mixture' of Norwegian dialects'' (p. 247).
Alternatively, he pleads for the hypothesis that ''one variety, spoken
by a special group or elite, was adopted as the basis for the
Icelandic standard'' (p. 249). According to the focus on Old
Icelandic, norm codification is discussed with respect to the
explanations and proposals in Snorri Sturluson's ''Edda'',
particularly on the spelling of Icelandic. Árnason stresses, however,
that the ''Edda'' does not qualify as a reference work. The process of
norm elaboration did not follow the codification of Icelandic in the
chronological sense, as a standard had already ''been 'elaborated'
orally for some time before being written down in the Latin alphabet''
(p. 263). The question of norm acceptance is closely connected with
this distinctive standardization history: Early religious texts from
Latin were soon translated into (Old) Icelandic so that no diglossia
developed, which became so characteristic for the language situation
in many other Germanic countries, and Icelandic had not to 'fight' for
acceptance (p. 267). In view of the continuity of the Icelandic
standard, however, it appears to be odd that the name ''íslenska''
('Icelandic') appeared not earlier than 1500 (p. 269).

In the history of German, 'Low German', presented by NILS LANGER, has
not reached the status of a standard language. It is still under
dispute whether modern Low German constitutes a language of its own or
is just a dialect of German. Langer thus concentrates on the history
of Middle Low German, which served as a lingua franca during the
Middle Ages and Early Modern time (p. 281). Written Middle Low German
certainly achieved a fairly standardized level, although at least two
written varieties have to be distinguished: Westphalian and Lübeck
Middle Low German. Their rise and fall were intertwined with the rise
and fall of the Hanseatic League (pp. 285f.). The Lübeck variety
gained importance with the north- and eastward expansion of the
''Hanse'' (p.  286). It was not only employed in the north of Germany,
but in many parts of Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, and,
because of their linguistic similarities, heavily influenced the
development of the Scandinavian languages. It is, for example,
estimated that circa 30 -- 50% of the Swedish vocabulary consists of
Low German loanwords. As for its standardization history, Middle Low
German is ''only partially compatible with the Haugen model of
standardization. There was no standardized Middle Low German in the
technical sense at any given point of time because it was never
codified or monitored.'' (p. 297)

'Luxembourgish' ''is today still at a relatively early stage of the
standardization process'', as PETER GILLES and CLAUDINE MOULIN
emphasize (p. 303). Issues of standardization in Luxembourg are
closely linked to its triglossic language situation. The traditional
sociolinguistic state is that of a ''medial diglossia'', with German
or French as the written language and Luxembourgish as ''the only
means of oral communication between native Luxembourgophone speakers''
(pp. 304f.).  This situation has been changing significantly in the
last twenty years: The use of Luxembourgish as written language is on
the increase, not just due to the simple necessity to teach a
''Standard Luxembourgish'' to foreign language learners, but also
because of its ''high national-symbolic value'' (pp. 305f.). In the
1984 language law, it was recognized as the third administrative
language. In the present time, it has ''limited relevance within the
domain of writing'', but shows increasing importance in the ''language
of closeness'', e. g.  private letters, personal notes
etc. (pp. 313f.)  -- The process of norm selection is
sociolinguistically dominated by the wish to secede from Germany and
German (for most of the 19th and 20th century, Luxembourgish was
merely seen as a German dialect on the German side), and this received
strengthened support during World War I and World War II, particularly
during the German occupation in World War II.  Linguistically,
Luxembourgish has not experienced a koinéization, as it is
hypothesized by some linguists, but a process of levelling of the four
main dialect areas of Luxembourg, with features of the dominant
dialect of the densely populated central area around Luxemburg city
spreading to the other areas (p. 312). Like in many other European
languages, spelling was first codified (early 19th century spelling
systems by literary writers had only limited effect here); however,
there is a ''great need for further codification today (lexicon,
grammar, syntax, pronunciation)'' (p. 317); one major lexicographic
project in this strand is the ''Luxemburger Wörterbuch'' (1950 --
77). As it is still early days in the standardization history of
Luxembourgish, norm elaboration and acceptance have not been central
issues yet. The authors conclude that ''in the present multilingual
and multidialectal situation comprehensive standardisation is probably
neither possible nor intended'' (p. 322).

Although Norway had a highly developed written language in the Middle
Ages, i. e. Old Norse, the starting point for the standardization
history of modern 'Norwegian' is the independence from Denmark, as
ERNST HÅKON JAHR writes. During the Dano-Norwegian Union (1380 --
1814), Danish was the only written language in Norway. In 1814, two
possible routes for the development of a standard were possible: a) a
written language based on a Dano-Norwegian creoloid or koiné variety
developed in 18th century and used by the elite only (5%), and b) a
written language based on Norwegian dialects, which developed from Old
Norse and were spoken by the vast majority of the population. The two
varieties found two eminent linguists of the 19th century as their
advocates: Knud Knudsen and Ivar Aasen. The former codified the
variety of written Norwegian which became known as ''Riksmål'' and by
decision of parliament was called ''Bokmål'' in 1929; the latter
created ''Landsmaal'', which was called ''Nynorsk'' after 1929. The
idea of ''Samnorsk'', a 'unified, amalgamated, pan-Norwegian', was an
attempt to overcome the ''bitter and irreconcilable tone of the
language conflict during the first decade of the twentieth century''
(p. 337): In a 1917 language reform, Samnorsk elements were both
introduced to Riksmål/Bokmål and Landsmaal/Nynorsk; in this and later
reforms, however, the language planners acted -- according to Jahr --
''totally insensitive to the Norwegian sociolinguistic reality''
(p. 339). The question of norm acceptance was thus -- for most of the
twentieth century, and the 1950s in particular -- dominated by the
language conflict between language reformers and their
opponents. Especially the Dano-Norwegian movement, recruited from
upper-middle class speakers and financially supported by conservative
leaders of business and commerce, resisted the reforms to the radical
variety of Bokmål, which symbolically was referred to as
Riksmål. Eventually, the 1981 conservative reform of the Bokmål meant
a final victory of the Dano-Norwegian movement, resulting in a
widening distance between standard Bokmål and standard Nynorsk (p.
349). Interestingly enough, as Jahr concludes, middle-class speech
never regained its former status after the 1981 reform; the
''neutral'' spoken standard variety of modern Norwegian rather
represents moderate Bokmål (p. 350).

In contrast to Caribbean Creoles, standardization and ''planning'' of
'Pacific Pidgins and Creoles' is not a political matter, as PETER
MÜHLHÄUSLER points out: ''The vast majority of speakers of Pacific
Pidgins and Creoles are Melanesians for whom the idea of central
planning is a 'foreign concept' and the traditional Melanesian
attitude to language, which is laissez faire, has remained dominant in
spite of numerous (mainly expatriate) attempts to set up language
planning bodies'' (p. 357). Language planning and standardization
seems to be more difficult than elsewhere, because in the Pacific
context language boundaries do often not coincide with political
boundaries (p. 366).  Such processes frequently go back to efforts by
individuals (as in the case of Australian Kriol) (pp. 367f.), but
standardization sometimes appears to happen coincidentally or ''by
default, such as when the variety prevalent at a certain mission
station was promoted as the standard for a whole area.'' (p. 366)
Mühlhäusler rightly stresses the language planning aspect in his paper
-- different efforts have been made, codified languages have been
''achieved'' (with ''official standards''), but they are often not
accepted (thus cannot be classified as standard languages!)
(pp. 376f.). However, Pacific Pidgins and Creoles appear to serve more
and more as identity markers for their speaker communities.

The chapter on 'Scots' by MARINA DOSSENA leaves the reader somewhat
puzzled. Although Scots and English have been identified as separate
as early as c. 1500 (and indeed go back to different varieties of Old
English), Scots does not seem to have developed a fully-fledged
(written) standard until today; even the debate on a spelling
standardization is ongoing (p. 393). One gets the impression that the
article is rather a plea to regard Scots as a language of its own --
and not just an English dialect (group). Accordingly, Dossena clearly
struggles to identify different aspects of standardization of Scots
according to the Haugen model: 'Norm selection' is merely discussed
with respect to the integration of Scotticisms (''croon'', ''eerie'',
''uncanny'', ''weird'') into the English standard language
(p. 388). The history of codification of Scots appears to be
inseparably linked to the history of ''the anglicization of Scots''
(pp. 389f.). Notes on the elaboration of a Scots norm are missing, and
the question of 'norm acceptance' boils down to the question of ''Good
or bad Scots?''  -- apparently constituting a matter of linguistic
purity. It does not become transparent, however, to what extent Scots
is rooted in and accepted in the speaker community, particularly as a
written language.  On the institutional level, Scottish Gaelic can
(unsurprisingly) ''count on greater attention''(p. 393).

ULF TELEMANN is the author of the chapter on the standardization of
'Swedish'. As with many other 'old' Germanic standard languages, the
translation of the Bible (1541) and the introduction of printing are
regarded as milestones in the beginning of standardization. The
efforts to create a uniform language were invigorated in the 17th
century, when Sweden expanded and implemented an effective central
political administration in Stockholm. Telemann describes the
standardization process both as ''a more or less inevitable
consequence of the political, economical, demographic and cultural
integration of the nation'' and a result of ''conscious,
target-orientated language cultivation (language planning, language
politics)'' (p. 406). Telemann clearly differentiates between the
standardization of the written language and the standardization of
spoken Swedish: Early norm selection in spelling developed in the
tradition of the Bible translations (a consistent morphology was not
reached until the 18th century), whereas a spoken norm was apparently
not seen as a necessity for a long time. Spelling and morphology of
written Swedish were codified in the 18th century. On the whole,
Swedish orthography represents phonemic spelling, as it was advocated
for by 19th century linguists like Adolf Noreen and codified in the
1906 spelling reform.  Pronunciation norms were only set up at the end
of the 19th century, modelled not so much on a particular regional
pronunciation (e. g. such as the one of Stockholm), but on the written
language and particularly on the pedagogical method of
''sounding''. The spoken norm was soon regarded as idealized, however,
and regional, social and stylistic variation was permitted so that
''the official language cultivators declared in the mid-twentieth
century that the standard spoken language existed in a number of
different regionally coloured forms, implying that the central Swedish
norm was only one among these''. The surveillance of the standard norm
was not an issue -- on the contrary, it was ''allowed to slacken as
the rural dialects became too weak to threaten the standard.''
(p. 412) Oddly, Telemann restricts his discussion of norm elaboration
on the elaboration of lexis in Swedish and basically notices that
language cultivators were ''descriptive rather than prescriptive in
lexical matters'' (p. 422). Likewise, the question of norm acceptance
is rather avoided; as an ''effective instrument for implementing a
standard norm'', Telemann identifies the general school system of the
19th century (p. 423). As the most noticeable recent development,
Telemann perceives the ''general trend of de-formalization'' after
World War II (among other things a result of the increasing pressure
of ''spontaneous, natural, unedited spoken language of the
television'' on the written language norms) and the growing influence
of English in science, universities, business and even politics
(p. 427).

'Yiddish' is a distinct case of a Germanic language, because of its
''historical, geographic, cultural, and religious individuality'', as
RAKHMIEL PELTZ writes (p. 432), particularly as its speakers, the
Ashkenazic Jews, ''were always minorities in the countries in which
they resided'' (p. 433). As a predominantly Germanic language, Yiddish
has integrated elements from other language groups -- by origin
components of Semitic and by language contact components of Slavic.
Traditionally, it was used at least in diglossic language situations,
with Hebrew as the language in religious contexts, and Yiddish as the
language in the family and the community. Like other contributors to
this volume, Peltz distinguishes between standardization brought about
by day-to-day changes (convergence, dialect levelling etc.) and
conscious language planning (pp. 433ff.). The planning of a Yiddish
standard was enhanced by the establishment of research institutions,
societies and various publications devoted to the study of Yiddish
language. Most of them were based in Eastern European countries, their
efforts ''were eliminated by the Nazi extermination of the Jews and
their institutions in Eastern Europe, the major heartland of Jewish
life in the world at that time in history'' (p. 434). On the level of
written language, the standard 'klal-shprakh' was developed, which
could be understood in all dialect areas; this writing system is the
product of concerted efforts to establish a standard which ''does not
favour one dialect'' (p. 438). As with many other standard languages,
standardization of Yiddish does not necessarily include standard
pronunciation. Although some dialects seem to be more prestigious than
others, the overall question of a standard spoken norm appears to be
rather peripheral (pp. 439f.). Efforts to codify written Yiddish,
mainly in orthography and lexicon, developed at the end of the 19th
and beginning of the 20th century ''to serve the needs of the Jewish
community's expanding functions in Yiddish'' (p. 440). Norm
elaboration and implementation appears to have taken place above all
through modern Yiddish literature and the daily press, which ''emerged
in full force at the beginning of the twentieth century'' -- although
the conservative daily press was ''most resistant to planning
recommendations'' (p. 445).  Norm acceptance is apparently the least
debatable aspect in the standardization history of Yiddish. According
to Peltz, it can serve as an example of the Jewish community's
capability ''to regulate itself independently of governments and
border'' (p. 446), thus echoing the title and subtitle of Peltz's
chapter: ''Yiddish. A language without an army regulates itself.'' The
stand of Yiddish has, however, become more difficult after World War
II, as younger Jewish people have linguistically shifted more and more
to the dominant language of the country that they live in (p. 447).


Ideally, the present volume can be used as a handbook on the modern
history of the Germanic languages as well as a source for a
comparative study of the standardization processes in these
languages. Although it will be difficult to establish 'general'
patterns, certain similarities in the standardization histories --
some of which are outlined in Deumert's & Vandenbussche's resumée
(pp. 455ff.)  -- are striking (the role of bible translations, of the
introduction of printing, of schooling etc.  -- or even the relatively
small influence of 'professional' language planners!).

The concept to organize the book according to one standardization
model (i. e. Haugen's model) certainly has its advantages and

 -- A major asset of this approach is the clear structure of the
various articles, and the idea to build on Haugen's four aspects of
standardization is useful as long as these aspects are not interpreted
as constituting a strict order of consecutive phases. (Some languages
seem to be accepted as standard by the speaker communities before
their written language norms are elaborated.) Moreover, Haugen in his
model rightfully stresses the existence of a written norm as the
crucial factor of standardization. Most authors follow this
interpretation and focus on the development of a written norm.

 -- The clear formal structure which is achieved by the adaptation of
Haugen's model may obscure a little, however, a) that some of the
varieties assembled here may not count as standard languages at all
and b) that some standardization histories are difficult to compare:

ad a) One could argue about the choice of languages considered for
this volume. Why is Scots included as a standard language, but not
Pennsylvania German? König & van der Auwera (1994) have a chapter on
Pennsylvania German, but none on Scots. (And apparently, they did not
even consider incorporating Low German and Luxembourgish.)

ad b) As the editors point out in their introductory essay,
disparities between the standardization of 'old' vs. 'new' and 'big'
vs. 'small' languages can probably not be bridged by a single model
like Haugen's.  Because of the effects of mass literacy or nationalism
in the 19th century, standardization processes which only commenced
after 1800 (cf.  Kloss 1978) were on the whole very different from
those which were initiated many centuries before (let alone the
development of the merely 'temporarily' standardized ''chancery
languages'' like Low Middle German and Frisian): For some of the 'old'
languages which had a fairly uniform written variety by 1800,
alphabetization, mass literacy and the emergence of new regional
varieties of writing was a more or less disruptive factor in the
standardization process, whereas 'new' languages rather started from
and built on the existing variation in the 19th century.

Furthermore, some of the authors appear to disagree on basic terms, so
that the reader may arrive at two or more different meanings of ''norm
elaboration'', ''proto-standard'' or ''destandardization'' (which
others refer to as ''deformalization''). Interestingly, various
articles reveal somewhat deviating views on the question of how much
variation a standard language can tolerate. Such discrepancies only
demonstrate, however, that comparative work is badly needed!

The volume is very well edited and, thanks to the narrative character
of most chapters, a pleasure to read. Typing errors (p. 269: ''German
and Danes have 'v' before 'i' in this word [''wringen'' 'wring']''),
wrong terminology (p. 283: ''Second High German Consonant Shift
('Zweite hochdeutsche Lautverschiebung')'' -- correct: ''Second
Germanic Consonant Shift'' or ''High German Consonant Shift'') or
other slips are rare. The one or other illustrating language map would
have been useful to get a clearer picture of the dialects of Frisian,
Faroese or the different Carribean and Pacific Creoles, which the
reader might not be overly familiar with.

All in all, this is a superb and very useful book. Everybody working
in the field of standardization and/or the modern history of the
Germanic languages will profit from the synoptic character and the
wealth of individual data assembled here. One begins to wonder indeed
why such a book has not been published before. And if it wasn't for
the price of EUR 126.90, the book could even be used as a coursebook
for a lecture or seminar on these or related topics.


Haugen, Einar (1966) ''Dialect, Language, Nation.'' American
Anthropologist 68: 922 -- 935.

Haugen, Einar (1972) ''Dialect, Language, Nation.'' The Ecology of
Language. Essays bei Einar Haugen, selected and introduced by Anwar S.
Dil, 237 -- 254. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Haugen, Einar (1994): ''Standardization.'' The Encyclopedia of
Language and Linguistics. 12 vols., ed. by R[onald] E. Asher, vol. 8,
4340 -- 4342. Oxford, New York, Seoul & Tokyo: Pergamon Press.

Kloss, Heinz (1978): Die Entwicklung neuer germanischer Kultursprachen
seit 1800. 2nd ed. Düsseldorf: Schwann.

König, Ekkehard & Johan van der Auwera (eds.)(1994): The Germanic
Languages. London & New York: Routledge.

Langer, Nils & Winifred V. Davies (eds.)(forthcoming): Linguistic
Purism in the Germanic Languages. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.

Linn, Andrew R. & Nicola McLelland (eds.)(2002): Standardization.
Studies from the Germanic Languages. (Amsterdam Studies in the Theory
and History of Linguistic Science. Series IV: Current Issues in
Linguistic Theory, 235). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins.


Stephan Elspaß teaches German Linguistics in the 'Institut für
Deutsche Philologie' of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität
Münster. His major research interests are the history of New High
German, Historical Sociolinguistics, Dialectology, Phraseology,
Language and Politics and Language Historiography.


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