The Pluricentricity Debate : On Austrian German and other Germanic Standard Varieties book cover
1st Edition

The Pluricentricity Debate
On Austrian German and other Germanic Standard Varieties

ISBN 9780367143572
Published June 3, 2019 by Routledge
152 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book unpacks a 30-year debate about the pluricentricity of German. It examines the concept of pluricentricity, an idea implicit to the study of World Englishes, which expressly allows for national standard varieties, and the notion of "pluri-areality," which seeks to challenge the former. Looking at the debate from three angles – methodological, theoretical, and epistemological – the volume draws on data from German and English, with additional perspectives from Dutch, Luxembourgish, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, to establish if and to what degree "pluri-areality" and pluricentricity model various sociolinguistic situations adequately. Dollinger argues that "pluri-areality" is synonymous with "geographical variation" and, as such, no match for pluricentricity. Instead, "pluri-areality" presupposes an atheoretical, supposedly "neutral", data-driven linguistics that violates basic science-theoretical principles. Three fail-safes are suggested – the uniformitarian hypothesis, Popper’s theory of falsification and speaker attitudes – to avoid philological incompatibilities and terminological clutter. This book is of particular interest to scholars in sociolinguistics, World Englishes, Germanic languages and linguists more generally.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


List of tables

List of illustrations



Terminological Note

1 The problem

1.1 What is pluricentricity?

1.2 What is pluri-areality?

1.3 Pluricentricity in the world

1.4 Pluricentricity in the Germanic languages

1.5 An outline of the book

2 Standardizing German: concepts and background

2.1 Contiguous borders vs. sea borders

2.2 What's in a name?

2.3 The standardization of written German

2.4 Abstand, ausbau language and "roofing"

3 The international pluricentric model

3.1 English

3.2 Northern Germanic

3.3 Belgian Dutch (Flemish) and Dutch Dutch

3.4 Luxembourgish

4 The German "pluri-areal" model

4.1 Dialectological context

4.2 Pluricentric and monocentric models of German

4.3 The Upper Austrian – Bavarian border

4.4 A pluricentrist turned pluri-arealist

5 The case against pluricentricity

5.1 Pluricentricity and the Österreichisches Wörterbuch (ÖWB)

5.2 The charge of ideology vs. enregistering ideology

5.3 The pluri-arealist bias

5.4 Reinterpreting Auer (2005)

5.5 Pluricentricity: outdated in a borderless Europe vs. homo nationalis?

6 The case against "pluri-areality"

6.1 Demystifying pluri-areality = "geographical variation"

6.2 A-theoretical empiricism

6.3 The Axiom of Categoricity

6.4 Type vs. tokens and social salience

6.5 Formulae in a black box

7 The lynchpin: speaker attitudes

7.1 State Nation Austria vs. Nation State Germany

7.2 Linguistic insecurity

7.3 German mother-tongue language instruction

7.4 Language planning and pedagogy

8 Examples: trends, not categoricity

8.1 An undetected Austrianism: Anpatzen 'make disreputable'

8.2 An unlikely Austrianism: der Tormann 'goal tender'

8.3 An even unlikelier Austrianism: hudeln

8.4 An enregistered Austrianism: es geht sich (nicht) aus

8.5 A typology of Austrianisms

9 Safeguards in the Modelling of Standard Varieties

9.1 The Uniformitarian Principle: "vertical" and "horizontal"

9.2 Explicit and falsifiable theories

9.3 "The speaker is always right": pedagogical implications

9.4 The language political angle of "pluri-areality"

9.5 Considering political borders

10 Bibliography

General Index







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Stefan Dollinger is Associate Professor at UBC Vancouver, specializing in historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and linguistic border studies. He is the author of New-Dialect Formation in Canada (2008) and The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology (2015), and Chief Editor of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles – (2017).