M.A. Theses in Linguistics at the University of North Dakota (Abstracts)
Tiessen, Calvin F. 2003
Positive Orientation Towards the Vernacular among the Talysh of Sumgayit
This thesis looks at the identification of positive vernacular orientation in the Talysh community of the city of Sumgayit, Azerbaijan, for the purpose of gaining a greater understanding of its causes. Positive vernacular orientation is defined as exhibition of a preferred status for the vernacular in sociolinguistic behaviour. Positive vernacular orientation is described in three areas of sociolinguistic behaviour: patterns of vernacular language use, vernacular language proficiency and frequency of vernacular-speaking individuals in social networks. Data was collected through personal interviews. The questionnaires for these interviews were developed using a qualitative-relational research approach. The description of positive vernacular orientation takes the form of a criteria-based typology of which an analysis of influential factors is ultimately made. This analysis of influential factors demonstrates the interaction between positive vernacular orientation as described in the typology and the contextual elements of the family, socio-economic dynamics and individual attitudes.
A total of 13 types of individuals demonstrating positive vernacular orientation are identified. Variation in vernacular orientation is shown to pattern itself according to differences in generation and time of arrival or birth in Sumgayit. The earlier individuals arrived or were born in Sumgayit, the more likely they are to demonstrate positive vernacular orientation in their sociolinguistic behaviour. As well, the closer individuals are to first generation, the more likely they are to demonstrate positive vernacular orientation in their sociolinguistic behaviour. Positive vernacular orientation is shown to be strongest among first generation individuals who arrived in Sumgayit before 1965. Positive vernacular orientation is shown to be weakest in third generation individuals born after 1991.
Talysh use in the home during an individual’s childhood; economic, social and circumstantial factors in an individual’s life; and ethnolinguistic identity are presented as influential in producing positive vernacular orientation in an individual’s sociolinguistic behaviour.
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