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Linguistic landscapes in Southern Carinthia (Austria)
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 14:28 authored by Sebastian M. Rasinger
This paper explores the linguistic landscape (LL) in the southern Austrian province of Carinthia, which is home to an autochthonous Slovene minority. Following several decades of political and legal debate known as the Ortstafelstreit ('dispute of topographic signs'), recent legislation has strengthened the status of Slovene by requiring municipalities with a considerable Slovene population to set up bilingual German-Slovene topographic signs marking their municipal boundaries. However, this is juxtaposed with a longstanding decline in use of the Slovene language amongst the autochthonous Slovene population. This qualitative analysis of the LL of three frames, the civic, the commercial, and the church, shows a heterogeneous picture, but one that is generally strongly skewed towards monolingual German. It suggests that Slovene is assigned a comparatively low sociosymbolic value. This can, at least in part, attributed to the selective manner in which municipalities are awarded legal bilingual status, leading to a lack of linguistic cohesion in the area and its LL. A marked exception to this is the church frame, whose linguistic landscape is characterised by a relatively balanced use of both German and Slovene.
Publication titleJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- Accepted version