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The Italian Language in the United States

The study of the fate of the Italian language in the United States is essentially the investigation of the results of its contact with American English, primarily occurred through the well-known migratory phenomenon that, within approximately a century (1860-1970), brought about 6 millions Italians to the New World. Language contact is a multidimensional and multidisciplinary area of study in which interrelationships between the languages in contact and their environment are the key to comprehending why and how people use them in a given way. In other words, the study of language contact entails the investigation of the totality of the relations between the languages of the contact and a given environment, as well as the study of the history of their speakers. This suggests that the study of language contact is essentially a study in language ecology. Indeed, it is within an ecological perspective that the results of these investigations may be integrated.

I primarily consider the present research as a study in language ecology, specifically, as the study of the ecology of the Italian language in the United States. The aim of this short paper is to give an account of the process of language loss taking place in the Italian community at-large in the United States.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
2 1. Introduction. The ecology of the Italian language in the United States The study of the fate of the Italian language 1 in the United States is essentially the investigation of the results of its contact with American English, primarily occurred through the well-known migratory phenomenon that, within approximately a century (1860-1970), brought about 6 millions Italians to the New World. 2 Language contact is a multidimensional and multidisciplinary area of study in which interrelationships between the languages in contact and their environment are the key to comprehending why and how people use them in a given way. In other words, the study of language contact entails the investigation of the totality of the relations between the languages of the contact and a given environment, as well as the study of the history of their speakers. This suggests that the study of language contact is essentially a study in language ecology. Indeed, it is within an ecological perspective that the results of these investigations may be integrated. I primarily consider the present research as a study in language ecology, specifically, as the study of the ecology of the Italian language in the United States. But before making any observations within such a framework, it is important to understand why and in which way it is ecological. Drawing on the most important reference in the linguistics literature, I will therefore outline the fundamental notions and principles of such an approach. 1 With ‘Italian language’ I refer to the several dialectal/non-standard varieties that essentially constituted the linguistic repertoire of the Italian immigrants in the United States. 2 Today, over 15.7 million people in the United States identify themselves as Italian Americans. They constitute nearly 6% of the U.S. population (A Profile of Today’s Italian Americans: 2003).

International thesis/dissertation

Autore: Francesca Bellù Contatta »

Composta da 26 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 759 click dal 01/02/2006.

 

Consultata integralmente 2 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.