Continuity or discontinuity in dialect use: When the speech of the son is more dialectal than his mother’s
2022-04-12, 09:00–09:30 (Europe/Vienna), Room 5

Continuity or discontinuity in dialect use: When the speech of the son is more dialectal than his mother’s

Szeged is the third largest city (c. 160,000) with one of the most distinguished universities in Hungary. The dialect traditionally used in and around the city in South Eastern Hungary is a nationally conspicuous one, using the front mid round ö [Ø] in place of Standard Hungarian e [e] in certain syllables. e.g. in tösz [tØs] vs. Standard tesz [tes] ‘put’. The dialect seems to disappear fast in the city, because about one-third of the city’s residents are in-migrants, many from non-ö dialect regions. Another important factor in dialect loss is the strong standard ideology, namely that the Hungarian language community is highly normative (Kontra 2018). That is why a lot of people in the younger generation avoid using the local dialect (Németh 2019).
However, there are some cases when the younger people show more local dialect features in their speech than the older ones ‒ even in the same family. In this paper we discuss the language use and attitudes of two respondents in Szeged: a 57-year-old woman and her 40-year-old son. The two interviews (184 and 118 min) are parts of the Szeged Sociolinguistic Survey (Kontra 2016; Kontra–Németh–Sinkovics 2016). Our major methodological tool is a modification of the interview designed by Labov (1984) and adapted to Hungarian in the Budapest Sociolinguistic Interview project (see Kontra–Váradi 1997). In the interviews, we have a fair number of conversational modules, subjective reaction tests, modules on local speech, and questions about the respondents’ solidarity with Szeged.
Our two respondents were born in Szeged and have lived there in their whole lives. During the interview, the mother had just a slight local accent without ö-ing, while her son was spoken the ö-dialect.
Our research questions are the following:
1) What factors contribute to the son’s more frequent use of ö-ing than her mother’s?
2) What beliefs do they have of their own speech? Why do they speak in such a way?
3) What beliefs do they have of the other’s speech? Why does s/he speak in such a way?
4) How could his/her course of life and their jobs affect to their speech?
5) What types of covert attitudes can be detected through the tests (e. g. subjective reaction test, which of these two words is correct? test)?

In this paper, we analyse the two respondents’ language use in a variationist approach (Labov 2001), and beliefs about and attitudes towards local dialect (language regards, Preston 2011). The analysis can show us how some important factors, such as marking identity and type of work can overwrite the continuity of dialect speech between two generations.


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