Article published in:The Evolution of Englishes: The Dynamic Model and beyond
Edited by Sarah Buschfeld, Thomas Hoffmann, Magnus Huber and Alexander Kautzsch
[Varieties of English Around the World G49] 2014
► pp. 231–248
On cafeterias and new dialects
The role of primary transmitters
This chapter argues that we need to differentiate potential founding populations in high-contact scenarios and classify different types of transmitters. Based on evidence from South Atlantic English, the claim is that, during the formative years of new dialects, some members of the community are more crucial than others, simply because they are more likely to transmit features to young children given their social role in the community. The impact of so-called primary transmitters may help explain why some dialects are extraordinarily influential in contact scenarios, despite the fact that its speakers represent a minority. This calls for a revision of current theories of new-dialect formation and for a more socially-informed view of koinéization processes.
Keywords: cafeteria principle, dialect contact, founder principle, koinéization, South Atlantic English
Published online: 12 September 2014
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