The dynamics of language spread: A study of the motivations and the social determinants of the spread of Sango in the Republic of Central Africa
Language spread, the process of a language expanding into new geographic and language-use areas, has been studied largely through observation type methods. Thus discussions of the dynamics of the process have been largely based only on these observation type data. This present work employs a memory span test to evaluate the competence of a large number of subjects in a spreading language, Sango of the Republic of Central Africa. This large-sample, quantitative measure of competence enabled statistical studies of the social determinants and predictors of competence in the spreading language. The results indicate the overriding importance of motivations on the individual level in understanding the dynamics of the process of language spread. Based on these individual based motivations, a framework for discussion, research, and intervention in language spread is presented, along with guidelines for more successful intervention in shift situations. Numerous researchers have linked language spread and language change (language internal modification over time), but this without substantive comparisons of the two. This quantitative study of language spread provides language spread data on the distribution of social factors (age, sex, education, ...). These distributions are very similar to the distributions of social factors in language change, indicating that language spread and language change are similar processes. ^
Language, Linguistics|Language, Modern
Mark E Karan,
"The dynamics of language spread: A study of the motivations and the social determinants of the spread of Sango in the Republic of Central Africa"
(January 1, 1996).
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