t The size of a language and the situations in which it is spoken have consequences not only for linguistic dominance, but also for language survival, endangerment, and language extinction. The death or extinction of languages reduces linguistic diversity. The linguistic diversity index is used to express the likelihood that two randomly selected individuals in a country will speak different ﬁrst languages.
Dialects and Toponyms
t Whether recorded on maps or signs, toponyms (see photo) provide telling clues about our priorities, preferences, and cultural practices.
What a Geographer Sees
t Dialect geography has long been a part of the spatial study of languages and frequently relies on isoglosses to help us understand how vocabulary usage varies from place to place. t African American English and Chicano English are two highly dynamic and contested dialects of American English. The identiﬁcation of a standard dialect gives an element of authority and legitimacy to one way of speaking, even though no dialect is inherently better or worse than another.
t Equally fascinating are the events or circumstances that prompt people to change or erase toponyms.
Key Terms ● ● ● ● ● ●
accent 117 creole language 110 dialect 98 dialect geography 118 endangered language 112 extinct language 112
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hearth 103 isogloss 118 language 98 language family 102 lingua franca 111 linguistic diversity 112
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linguistic diversity index (LDI) 113 linguistic dominance 108 loanword 109 mutual intelligibility 98 ofﬁcial language 108
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pidgin language 110 standard dialect 122 toponym 123
Critical and Creative Thinking Questions 1. Use the photo below to develop a proposal to create a tactile map of your campus or neighborhood for those who are visually impaired.
4. It has been said that network standard is a geographically neutral dialect. Do you agree? Can a dialect be socially neutral? Explain your reasoning. 5. How might governmental and educational policies prevent linguistic dominance? 6. Some scholars argue that a language must possess a literary tradition to be counted as a fully separate language. Others claim that a language should have status as an ofﬁcial language. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches to language identiﬁcation? 7. What do the toponyms where you live reveal about settlement patterns, politics, or commemoration more generally?
2. Can you think of American English words not mentioned in this chapter that have local or regional usages? Where are they used? 3. Identify some challenges associated with counting the number of speakers of a language.
8. Linguistically, is the world becoming more alike or different? Explain your answer. 9. This chapter has not discussed slang. What is slang, and why is it a controversial subject? What would you say is the difference between slang and linguistic creativity? In what linguistic spaces is slang used?
Critical and Creative Thinking Questions
Chapters for Manual High School